North China's Hebei Province has pledged about 21 billion
yuan (US$2.8 billion) to cut pollutants emissions and build
environment monitoring stations around Beijing ahead of the 2008
The efforts to keep pollutants out of the capital include the
installation of 34 desulphurization systems in power plants,
construction of 23 central heating facilities in a bid to reduce
the use of coal, and 56 pollutant-curbing projects in the
province's chemical industries, said Ji Zhenhai, director of the
provincial environment protection bureau.
The projects could reduce the annual emission of about 550,000
tons of sulphur dioxide when they are completed, he said.
Meanwhile, Hebei has started to build air quality monitoring
outposts in six major cities near Beijing, including provincial
capital Shijiazhuang, to collect data on emissions of sulphur
dioxide, nitrogen monoxide, carbon monoxide and other chemical
"We will take necessary action if the pollution indices fail to
meet required standards," Ji said.
"Environmental quality in Hebei is important to that in
neighboring Beijing, and the onus is also on us to ensure a clean
Olympics," he added.
Hebei has already lent a big hand to the host city of the next
Olympics by providing a new plant site for the Shougang steel
company, a major air polluter in Beijing.
The Olympics outlook, along with risks posed by a degraded
environment from decades of breakneck growth, has spurred the
province to improve the environment.
By the end of last year, Hebei had in place more than 500 water
and air quality monitoring stations. The provincial government
opened two phone hotlines for the public to report
Provincial environment protection bureau figures show pollution
has decreased by about 24 percent since the 10th five-year plan
period (2001-2006), and an increase the number of "blue sky"
In order to ensure a clean environment for next year's Olympics,
Beijing has been taking measures, including trial traffic bans,
increased tree planting and ordering its power plants to switch
from coal to gas.
Zhang Lijun, deputy director of the State Environmental
Protection Administration, has also called for regional cooperation
from Beijing's neighbors including Hebei, Shanxi, Tianjin and Inner Mongolia to tackle air pollution problem
and contribute to a clean Olympics.
(Xinhua News Agency October 9, 2007)