Beijing gov't criticized for ongoing smog

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 17, 2014
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Fireworks are displayed in Beijing on Feb. 14. [Photo/CNS]

He also said the response would be useless even if traffic were cut and the plants suspended, because smog is not strictly a Beijing problem, but a common issue faced by a much larger region, including Beijing and Tianjin municipalities and the nearby provinces of Hebei, Shandong and Henan.

Wang's research last year found hazardous heavy metals in the air over Beijing came from ferrous metal smelting and coal burning in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area.

On Sept. 18, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and governments of Beijing, Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Shandong, Shanxi and Tianjin signed an agreement on pollution. The Ministry of Finance announced in October a 5 billion yuan (824 million U.S. dollars) reward for air pollution reduction.

A statement released after an executive meeting of the State Council held on Wednesday has urged reduction of PM2.5 and other pollutants in smoggy cities as the key task in the fight against air pollution.

The statement noted that overall consumption of coal should be controlled, calling for more efforts to promote high quality gasoline for vehicles, energy saving in construction and the use of environmentally friendly boilers.

It revealed that 10 billion yuan (1.64 billion U.S. dollars) has been allocated this year as rewards for key cities and regions who make significant progress in air pollution control.

Ma Jun, a conservationist and founder of the non-profit Institute for Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), said that, considering the difficulty of ordering immediate action by residents during extreme smoggy weather, the government should take easier measures.

Ma advised that the government move government-funded vehicles off of roads and, more importantly, order the suspension of plants with huge emissions, adding that the government should disclose these measures to the public in a timely manner when smoggy weather happens.

"Industrial and coal-fired power plant emissions are way more serious than those of vehicles, and it is more feasible for authorities to shut them down under extreme weather," said Ma.


The smog problem in China has drawn world attention and has become an international issue requiring global efforts to solve.

According to a study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in late January, 36 percent of human-caused sulfur dioxide, 27 percent of nitrogen oxides, 22 percent of carbon monoxide and 17 percent of black carbon emitted in China were associated with the production of goods for export.

About 21 percent of export-related Chinese emissions were attributed to China-to-US exports, said the study.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Friday called for closer China-U.S.technological cooperation in countering climate change when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited China on Friday.

Kerry also said the United States would like to strengthen coordination on climate change.

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