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Beijing to Plant Rooftop Grass to Clean Away Smog
Reuters News Service (11 January 2005)

BEIJING - Polluted Beijing is planning to clean up its act by planting grass on rooftops, Xinhua news agency said on Monday.

The gardening campaign was part of the Chinese capital's drive to improve air quality in time for the 2008 Olympics, it said.
"Downtown Beijing is too crowded to insert more green belts, so we'll try it on the roofs," Yang Zhihua, an official with the city's parks and woods bureau, was quoted as saying. Green belts are urban areas set aside for planting trees and shrubs.

Rooftop "green belts" could sprout on 30 percent of the city's high rises and 60 percent of its lower buildings by 2008, Yang said.

The preferred vegetation for roofs was "evergreen grass" because it could resist high temperatures and Beijing's typical dry weather, the report said.

Yang said the city government had planted 10,000 square metres of rooftop lawns in 2004 and would expand the coverage to 100,000 square metres this year.

Beijing's clean air campaign would also entail relocating 200 polluting factories and restricting office buildings, apartments, hotels and shopping malls in the metropolitan centre, Xinhua said without clarifying.

China's capital said it had just managed to reach its goal of 227 days with clean air in 2004 after the target seemed all but unattainable last October. Sceptics have raised questions about the standards used to make the claim.

Go to the BAQ 2004 website
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