BEIJING – Beijing’s pollution levels dropped Wednesday to less than half of the previous day’s – the lowest reading since authorities began pulling cars off the road and shutting down factories to address athletes’ concerns about air quality during the Olympic Games.
A cooling wind and some rain helped clear the city’s polluted skies, one of the biggest worries for Olympics organizers. The concerns prompted Beijing officials to institute drastic measures this month, including pulling half the city’s 3.3 million vehicles off the roads, halting most construction and closing some factories in the capital and surrounding provinces.
The measures are having the desired effect, said Du Shaozhong, deputy director of Beijing’s Environmental Protection Bureau.
The air pollution index dropped to 44 on Wednesday, less than half what it was Tuesday and the lowest since July 20. China considers any reading below 100 to be acceptable.
A World Bank study said China is home to 16 of the world’s 20 worst cities for air quality.