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Straw burning to be banned in Shanghai

2014-01-23 11:08 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Wang Fan
City’s political advisers vote at the Second Session of the Shanghai Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which ended Wednesday. (Wang Rongjiang)

City's political advisers vote at the Second Session of the Shanghai Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which ended Wednesday. (Wang Rongjiang)

A citywide straw burning ban is to be introduced to help improve air quality, Shanghai Party Secretary Han Zheng said Wednesday.  [Special coverage]

Currently, it is only banned near airports, main roads, densely populated areas and other designated areas, under a draft regulation introduced last November implementing a national air pollution law.

Farmers burn straw to get rid of surplus while also fertilizing the soil and killing weeds and pests.

"Shanghai should take the lead in banning straw burning across the city, which proved to be satisfactory during the 2010 Shanghai Expo," Han said.

Han was speaking after hearing reports from political advisers at the Second Plenary Session of the 12th Shanghai Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which ended yesterday.

Neighboring Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces in the Yangtze River Delta are also considering a full ban on straw burning under a joint prevention action, Han said.

"Shanghai and the three provinces have applied for finance from central government to subsidize farmers," Han said.

"Shanghai will fund its own farmers and leave the subsidies to benefit more farmers in other provinces," he added.

Farmers and agricultural companies using straw-based fertilizers will receive 675 yuan (US$112) per hectare.

And companies recycling straw will be subsidized 200 yuan per ton. Programs aiming to reuse straw will receive a subsidy of 30 percent of the program's fixed-asset investment, according to the Shanghai Agricultural Commission.

Sun Lei, director of the Shanghai Agricultural Commission, said there was no large-scale straw burning in Shanghai, although some older farmers continue the practice.

Last month, farmers in Songjiang District were found to be burning straw when the air was already severely polluted.

Sun said the commission fully supported the introduction of a law banning straw burning across the city.

In 2010, the city introduced a complete ban on straw burning during the Shanghai Expo. The city government allocated a total of 14.2 million yuan to nine districts, according to the official website of the Shanghai Agricultural Commission.

"We need to review what we did effectively during the Expo that made the sky so blue and clear," Han said.

He also noted that measures such as suspending coal-burning boilers, construction projects and vehicles of high pollution emission, which were adopted during the expo.

According to the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau, vehicle emissions account for 25.8 percent of pollutants containing tiny and especially hazardous PM2.5 particles.

Industrial manufacturing was responsible for 25.6 percent, while agricultural and biological sources accounted for 3 percent.

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