Push for green consciousness trims perk of unlimited food

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 08 March, 2008, 12:00am

Beijing might have done a less than adequate job at protecting the environment and has taken to rounding up any green activists who like to point that out to the media ahead of the Olympics. But that doesn't mean it has stopped trying.

At this week's Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference annual meeting, delegates were given magnetic swipe cards for meals to reduce paper waste. Previously, they were given coupons, which enabled them to eat as much as they wanted. This year, the swipe cards made sure they only had one meal at a time, with no extra servings. This also reduced food waste.

Since many came from outside Beijing, conference members were given a booklet reminding them to save energy, water and paper while in the capital. They were also told to maintain the air conditioning in their hotel rooms at a reasonable temperature.

Meanwhile, official drivers tasked with transporting delegates between hotels and meetings were ordered to leave promptly - even at the risk of leaving behind VIP members. This was part of an anti-pollution measure on the understanding that the longer the buses waited, the more exhaust fumes they produced.

Turning off idling engines is, apparently, a practice foreign to most drivers.