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Kebabs banned to clear air ahead of Asian Games

For nearly two months, Kebab lovers in 11 Chinese cities bordering Guangzhou, host of the Asian Games, cannot have their favourite dish as authorities have imposed a ban on street barbeque stalls to ensure good air quality for the period of games.

world Updated: Oct 26, 2010 22:47 IST

For nearly two months, Kebab lovers in 11 Chinese cities bordering Guangzhou, host of the Asian Games, cannot have their favourite dish as authorities have imposed a ban on street barbeque stalls to ensure good air quality for the period of games.

Authorities in Guangdong province have introduced controversial air-quality improvement measures, ranging from closing down factories and banning roadside barbeques for the 16th Asian Games to be held between November 12 and 28, state media reported here today.

The measures are scheduled to be implemented from November 1 to December 20, covering 11 cities in the southern province.

According to the provincial environmental protection bureau, authorities will impose restrictions on vehicles and close down construction sites and production in factories that emit pollutant gas, in order to maintain good air quality during the event.

Traffic will be reduced using the even-odd license plate method implemented during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in order to pull about 40 per cent of vehicles off the road, improve air quality and ease traffic congestion. But the restriction does not apply to public transport and Games support vehicles.

Sprinklers will also be used to reduce dust, the bureau said.

Yang Yunfan, a Guangzhou resident said, “It’s absurd to impose a ban on barbecues in the city, as it does produce some smoke but it won’t contaminate the environment,” Yang said, complaining that the pollution control brings a lot of problems and is only effective during the Games.

“(The measures) will be abandoned after the Games, and they won’t bring much to the local environment once the event is over,” Yang was quoted by the state run ‘Global Times’ as saying.

China is straining every nerve to make 16th Asian Games a shade better than 2008 Beijing Olympics.

As the government racks its brains on how to curb pollution and improve air quality for the Games, experts said that the efforts should not be one-off, but also carry on post-Games.

“The regulation is quite useful on restricting emissions and beautifying the environment in the short term, but the question is how to maintain the green legacy,” Zhang Boju, head of research at the Beijing-based non-profit Friends of Nature group said.