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Beijing goes 'all-out' against air pollution

2014-01-17 09:01 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun declared an "all-out effort" on Thursday to tackle air pollution by cutting coal use by 2.6 million tonnes and transforming 300 polluting companies this year .

Coal-burning boilers inside Beijing's fifth ring road will be eliminated and measures taken against coal burning in the capital's periphery, said Wang at the opening of the annual session of the municipal People's Congress, Beijing's legislature.

Four large gas-burning thermoelectricity centers will be completed, he said. The municipal government will earmark 15 billion yuan (2.4 billion U.S. dollars) to improve air quality in 2014.

Smog enveloped Beijing on Thursday. Air quality hit its most polluted level. Readings for PM 2.5, airborne particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, exceeded 500 micrograms per cubic meter in most of the city at 6 a.m. on Thursday.

The municipal government issued a yellow smog alert at 7 a.m., as visibility in some parts of the city was forecast to be less than 500 meters. The haze will continue until Friday in Beijing.

The city aims to ban all heavily polluting vehicles this year, cut new car registrations and promote new energy vehicles. There will be research into pollutant reduction technology and the sources of PM2.5, Wang said.

In 2013, the city cut major air pollutants by more than 3 percent, replaced 366,000 old vehicles and overhauled 288 polluting factories.

However, Beijing still reported 58 days of serious pollution last year, or one every six to seven days on average, according to Zhang Dawei, director of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center.

The contribution of vehicle exhausts and lack of strong winds were contributory factors to the lingering of the smog, he said.

Beijing has begun coordinating and cooperating with its surrounding provinces to jointly deal with air pollution. The central government budgeted five billion yuan for air pollution control by Beijing and several of its neighbors in October.

The repeated bouts of hazy days since early 2013 have raised public complaints and prompted the government to take more effective steps.

Provincial Two Sessions 2014

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