From August 17th to 20th, traffic will be severely restricted in Beijing. Up to 1.3 million vehicles will be banned from circulation. The ban affects cars depending on the ending plate's number: cars which number end in an odd number will be banned two days and cars with ending in an even number will be banned from traffic the other two. Public vehicles and public transport won't be affected by the ban. A similar measure has been applied in Mexico City and some Italian cities.
The ban is an idea to reduce the city's pollution, which, despite the city efforts in renewing power plants and taking the industries to the outskirts of the city, has reached alarming levels due to the increased traffic. Estimates are about 3.3 million motor vehicles on the road by August 2008, when the Olympic Games will be held. The measure will cut 1 million vehicles from Beijing's roads and although it was planned for two weeks, the local authorities have decided to try it in a smaller scale. Should this test be satisfactory, the measure will be applied during the Games.

A few days ago, Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, announced that some endurance competitions could be seriously affected by the high levels of pollution of the city and they could even have to be canceled to protect the athletes' health if the situation is severe enough.

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[Source: Xinhua official news agency, via Europa Press]

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