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Smog gone 'in less than 30 years'

2014-03-05 08:58 Global Times Web Editor: Li Yan

China will need less than 30 years to cure its smog problem due to improved measures such as advanced technology and restructured industries, said an official.

Ma Yanhe, a director of the Ministry of Science and Technology, said Monday that developed countries had all experienced air pollution during development, the Beijing Times reported.

"The experience of foreign countries shows that smog can be beaten, but it usually takes around 30 years," said Ma, citing a research result from the Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China on air pollution in Los Angeles, London and Paris.

With stricter and more efficient environmental management and modern technology, China will not need 30 years to treat smog, but neither will the problem be solved "overnight," Ma said.

National People's Congress (NPC) spokeswoman Fu Ying said on Tuesday that the smog problem had become a major headache for some Chinese cities, and it was affecting more areas. The NPC will consider amending the Law on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution to provide legal guarantees.

Smog has shrouded Beijing and other areas in northern and eastern China since February 20 until rain and wind began to disperse the pollution late on February 26.

Moderate smog hit Beijing on Monday but forecasters said Beijing will enjoy good air quality from Tuesday to Thursday.

So far this year, Beijing has had 35 days of air pollution, some 60 percent of all days counted, The Beijing News reported, quoting statistics from the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center.

Zhang Mingying with the Beijing Bureau of Meteorology explained to the Global Times that the recent weather conditions had exacerbated the pollution in North China, but the main cause was polluting industries.

Ma Jun, director of the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, said the root reason is the huge amount of industrial discharge into the sky. "Some factories continued to discharge exhaust gas during the smoggy days."

The key measure, in Ma Jun's opinion, is to curb pollution by factories. "A few thousand large factories account for 60 percent of all discharge in all of China," he said.

The State Council urged factories to install exhaust gas treatment devices and facilities, and also ordered them to limit the consumption of coal in northern areas.

The Ministry of Science and Technology promised to focus on tasks such as putting new air pollution treatment technology to practical use, and carry out research and development of clean gas technology.

Ma Jun believed China is not short of money or technology, and that regulation by the government and supervision from the public are also important.

"If we can tighten supervision, with mature foreign experience and our ability for innovation, we can solve the problem in 10 years or less."

2014 Two Sessions

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