(Jun 27, 2007)

Chinese Olympics planners seek air pollution advice

From AP

RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP) - Chinese officials, preparing for the 2008 Olympics, are seeking air pollution tips from researchers in North Carolina to help combat smog and other problems in Beijing.

A group of Chinese air modelers, engineers and meteorologists recently completed three weeks of training at RTI International, a research institute based at Research Triangle Park, where they learned to use state-of-the-art computer modeling to forecast air pollution.

''They have some pretty severe air pollution problems,'' said Bob Zerbonia, project director for RTI, which is providing technical support to a larger team that includes Chinese officials. ''They have been addressing them but are still not where they want to be. The Olympics are the driving force now, but it's a long-term deal.''

Beijing's goal is to meet national air standards before it hosts the Olympics next year. The city is particularly focused on combatting particle pollution, which can cause breathing problems and reduced visibility.

Environmental improvement efforts in Beijing have been hampered by the country's rapid growth, a high level of construction activity and increasing number of vehicles on the roads.

RTI scientists are helping Cinese officials with computer models that study emissions patterns. The company is also helping provide them with a technical foundation to decide which additional pollution controls to adopt, The News & Observer reported for its Wednesday editions.

''We hope the effort of this project will help Beijing produce more scientific and economically efficient pollution control strategies,'' said Shi Aijun, director of monitoring and pollution management for the city of Beijing. ''Specifically, by using this modeling system, we can finally decide which are the major emission sources.''

He said special measures would be added before the Olympics, including a 30 percent cut in emissions from factories, replacement of old diesel buses and taxis, and tighter emission standards for automobiles.

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