Beijing cleans up act ahead of Games

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The Independent Online

Next year's Olympic host Beijing had its cleanest-air September in seven years, with 25 "blue sky" days of fairly good air quality, it was announced yesterday.

By the end of September, Beijing had had 186 such days this year – one more than the same period last year. The city still needs 59 such days to meet this year's goal of 245 days, up from 241 last year.

Beijing's polluted air is causing concern before the 2008 Summer Olympics next August. Some athletes will arrive just before their events to avoid the pollution, and Beijing aims to close at least 1,000 small coal mines before the games to improve air quality.