Beijing pay concern in quality of street food

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 12:26 GMT, May 8, 2015 |

Beijing has extended a ban on outdoor barbecues at restaurants operating in some suburban areas as it tries to improve its notoriously poor air quality as part of its bid to win the 2022 Winter Olympics, state news agency reported.

Generally used to cook popular street food like kebabs, barbecues are already banned inside the city’s fourth ring road. The government blames them for contributing to smog, despite much public ridicule that points to dirty factories as being far more to blame. The outlying suburb of Tongzhou, as well as parts of Shunyi, Miyun, Pinggu and Fangshan, will now have to comply with the ban, the report issued late on Wednesday said, citing the Beijing Municipal Bureau of City Administration and Law Enforcement.

Xinhua said this was part of efforts to ensure air quality measures up in case Beijing wins the 2022 Games, a decision that will be made in late July. Only the Kazakh city of Almaty is bidding against Beijing. “China is going all out to bring Olympic Blue to Beijing,” Xinhua reported. “Air pollution, which had haunted the city for quite a long time, is believed to be one of the major problems hurting Beijing’s chance for the 2022 Games.”

While Beijing made strenuous efforts to clean up its air in time for the 2008 Summer Olympics, the city still suffers from terrible smog, so bad on occasion that it forces the airport to shut and envelops everything in a thick, choking haze. Average levels of hazardous airborne particles, known as PM2.5, stood at 85.9 micrograms per cubic metres in 2014, down 4% compared with the previous year. That is still far higher than the national air quality standard of 35 micrograms. Beijing plans to bring readings down to 60 by 2017, the municipal environmental bureau said earlier this year.