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March 3, 2013

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Home » Metro » Environment

Call for factory tax based on pollution levels

SHANGHAI'S government should levy a tax on factories based on the level of pollutants they release, a national lawmaker with the city's environmental protection authority said yesterday.

This would encourage plants to reduce pollutants, improving air quality, said Zhang Quan, director of the city's Environmental Protection Bureau.

The city should start with a tax on plants releasing sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, chemical oxygen and ammonia nitrogen, said Zhang, who is also a national lawmaker, in a proposal to the National People's Congress, China's top legislature body, in Beijing.

Then the initiative could be expanded to include carbon emissions, he added.

The tax would be applied on a sliding scale, the sum depending on the quantity of pollutants within legal limits.

"The tax could help the government better control companies releasing pollutants and improve the environment effectively," said Zhang.

Zhang said the city must work with neighboring provinces to curb emissions as it is difficult for Shanghai to improve the air alone, he added.

"One of the major culprits of the country's air pollution is the densely distributed chemical factories in east and central Chinese cities," Zhang said.

He proposed establishing a regional commission to supervise factories and a system to alert neighboring cities whenever heavy pollutants were detected.

Zhang also said that Shanghai's air quality forecasts are to resume at the end of the year. The service was suspended last November after the adoption of stricter standards.

Forecasts will include more indicators - PM2.5, PM10, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide.

And a smartphone application with air quality alerts and PM2.5 density readings will be available soon.

Environment minister Zhou Shengxian has said China "faces a long battle" in controlling PM2.5 levels.

These are airborne particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter that can penetrate deep into the lungs.


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