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Guangzhou prepares for Asian Games


Authorities are pumping in more than 58 billion yuan ($8.5 billion) to boost the city's transportation system and protect its environment in preparation for the 16th Asian Games next November, a city official said.

"The investment, which involves 739 transportation and environmental protection projects, is to ensure better living conditions for all visitors to the Games," said Su Zequn, executive vice-mayor of Guangzhou.

The improvements will benefit residents after the Games, Su said.

The latest projects include a large urban metro subway network consisting of eight lines, to be completed before the opening of the sporting event.

"The metro network will greatly improve traffic conditions for residents," Su said. Up to 80 percent of the sports facilities used for the Games will also be accessible by metro lines.
All projects will be completed by August of next year, Su said.

On the environmental front, Yang Liu, deputy director of Guangzhou environmental protection bureau, told China Daily the city has set a goal to ensure as many as 361 days of better air quality next year.

Air quality in the city improved in the first five months of this year, with 37 fewer days of haze and dust than in the same period of last year.

The number of dusty and hazy days dropped from 142 in 2004 to 110 last year due to tightened environmental measures in recent years, Yang said.

"But the task of ensuring better air quality during the Games remains tough," he said.

To fight the problem, authorities plan to raise up to 1.8 billion yuan in private funds to complement public funding toward improving air quality.

"As many as 32 highly polluting chemical plants will be removed or ordered to stop production by the end of this year," he said.

Yang said environmental protection authorities in Guangzhou have teamed with their counterparts in the neighboring cities of Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan and Shenzhen to establish a coordinated system to improve air quality.

Similarly, 38 sewage treatment facilities are scheduled to be built before the Games' opening next year, with an added sewage capacity of 2.25 million tons a day, sources with the Guangzhou water affairs bureau said.



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