China is planning a three-year scheme to control air pollution and find solutions to reduce smog in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze River Delta in eastern China and Fenhe-Weihe area in northern China.
Cities above the prefecture level must achieve good air quality 80 percent of the days of the year by 2020, and the density of PM2.5, a key indicator of air pollution, in cities that have not reached their targets should at least be reduced by 18 percent from 2015 to 2020, environment minister Li Ganjie said.
Li made the remarks during the 2018 national environmental protection working conference on Friday and Saturday in Beijing, according to a statement sent by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP).
The MEP has set Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, the Yangtze River Delta and Fenhe-Weihe area as key battlegrounds to curb pollution.
The Fenhe-Weihe area mainly refers to Shanxi and Shaanixi Provinces, home to populated cities.
China will adjust the industrial, energy and transportation structure in these regions and improve pollution control and prevention collaboration mechanisms, Li said.
Pollution in the Fenhe-Weihe area is dispersed, but the area continues to suffer from smog, mainly caused by severe coal-burning, Wang Gengchen, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Atmospheric Physics Institute, told the Global Times on Sunday.
If pollution in the Fenhe-Weihe area is not controlled, it will spread to other regions, including the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, the Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta regions, which have seen substantial air quality improvements in recent years, Wang said.
The Fenhe-Weihe region is one of the key areas that undergoes energy structural reform, Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, told the Global Times.
China has achieved targets in 2017 in an action plan released by the State Council in 2013, but the country continues to suffer from severe air pollution. Only 29 percent of 338 cities have met the standard, Xinhua reported.
Wang said the MEP's target is "high" and "comprehensive," which aims to improve significant environmental problems in different regions.
The conference also said that all cities of at least county level are required to report the safety status of their drinking water to the public. By 2020, 70 percent of surface water in China needs to reach at least a third-level standard, Li said.