Polluted Taiyuan Vows to Clean up

Taiyuan, the capital of northern Shanxi Province, has vowed to shake off its reputation as "China's most-polluted city" by the end of this year, by reinforcing pollution control policies.

Official reports show that the city, one of China's most important energy and chemical industrial bases, is among the world's most polluted cities, Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the State Environmental Protection Administration, indices of major air pollutants in Taiyuan last year ranked the highest among 42 major Chinese cities and far exceeded national standards.

The local government has vowed that Taiyuan will annually see slightly polluted air for at least 217 days and no more than 57 days of moderate and heavy air pollution.

In order to reduce auto emission, the city plans to phase out more than 800 minibuses and introduce medium-sized buses using clean fuels.

Presently, vehicles are forbidden to run on urban streets when the city's air quality dips to the fourth grade or lower for three consecutive days.

This year, the city will construct a central heating system, covering 4.1 million square meters, that will replace the existing 150 coal-fueled heating boilers and will set up a number of clean-fuel-only areas in the city's downtown area.

(Eastday.com.cn 05/11/2001)