PM 2.5 top of capital's agenda

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Reducing fine particle pollution is the Beijing municipal government's top priority for 2012, ahead of housing, health, and education, according to a local government report.

"Reducing fine particle pollution will be a long, tough battle," Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, told China Daily, "but we will stick to it."

The bureau plans to install 30 monitoring stations throughout Beijing's 16 districts by the end of the year. Priority will be given to six stations in downtown and suburban areas.

The capital plans to scrap 10,000 polluting automobiles in 2012 and raise its standard for fuel emissions. In addition, the city will replace its remaining coal-fired boilers with gas units by the end of the year and will plant another 200,000 mu (3,3000 acres) of trees in 2012, Du said.

"Reducing air pollution is not a local issue," said Du. "We plan to work closely with neighboring provinces in order to solve the problem."

The bureau has also appealed to the public to do its part by using public transportation instead of private cars.

Last week, the bureau released 24-hour average data for PM 2.5, an important gauge of air pollution.

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