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Historic Beijing Coal Gas Production to End
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Beijing Coking Plant will move away from the city on July 15 and some equipment and employees will be relocated away from the city. According to the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau (BEPB), the plant's move will help improve the air quality in the city. It also signifies the end of nearly 50 years of coal gas use in Beijing.

Officials from BEPB say there are two significant industrial pollution areas in Beijing. One is in the southwest of the city where the Shougang Group and some large electricity plants are located. The other is in the southeast of Beijing where there are coking and chemical plants.

According to BEPB estimates, as a result of the Coking Plant relocation, coal consumption will be reduced by 2.96 million tons per year and industrial emissions will go down by 4.33 billion cubic meters per year. Sulfur dioxide emissions will be reduced by 1,617 tons per year. Experts say the sulfur dioxide pollution in the air of Beijing will be reduced by about 80 percent.

The Coking Plant has a 47-year history. It has six large-scale coke ovens and in its prime, yearly output could reach 600 million cubic meters. In total it has provided 14.8 billion cubic meters of coal gas to Beijing. Initially it supplied coal gas to Zhongnanhai, Great Hall of the People, famous restaurants, the embassy areas, then to tens of thousands of Beijing households, hotels, restaurants and enterprises. It made a significant contribution to the environment of Beijing at that time as it changed the habits of city dwellers who burnt coal. 

With the success in winning the bid for hosting the 2008 Olympics, Beijing set higher objectives for environmental protection. The municipal government has therefore taken the important step of gradually replacing the coal gas with cleaner and more abundant natural gas.

(China.org.cn by Li Xiaohua, July 12, 2006)

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