BEIJING (AP) — Heavily polluted Beijing hopes to close at least 1,000 small coal mines before next year's Olympic Games, state media reported Monday.
Xinhua News Agency said the capital's bureau of land and resources and public security bureau had ordered all unlicensed coal mines to stop work immediately, dismantle their equipment and hand in any explosives within 15 days.
It said mine owners who do this can have their punishment for operating without a license lessened or dropped.
Pollution levels, especially air quality, are a huge concern ahead of the Olympics, which start next Aug. 8.
Beijing's coal-burning factories, power plants and vehicles regularly spew enough fumes to shroud the city of 17 million people in a brown, pungent haze.
Chinese authorities plan to shut down factories and pull cars off Beijing's streets during the Olympics, but a timeline has not been set.
The capital is a sprawling city with large rural areas, where many of the illegal mines are situated.