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March 2, 2017

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Intensified drive to cut PM2.5 and pollution

BEIJING and its neighbors have pledged to intensify efforts in cutting air pollution to meet the target of lowering the average annual PM2.5 density in the region to about 60 micrograms per cubic meter this year.

Beijing plans to invest 18 billion yuan (US$2.6 billion) in air pollution treatment this year.

The capital will cut coal consumption by 3 million tons, shut down at least 500 manufacturing and polluting plants and strictly supervise heavy diesel vehicles, according to a coordinating meeting on air pollution treatment in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and neighboring regions on Tuesday.

Tianjin will supply gasoline and diesel that comply with the National VI standard in September. The port city will set up environmental protection units at the township and sub-district levels to push pollution treatment.

Besides cutting excess capacity in sectors such as steel and glass, Hebei Province will replace coal with clean energy for more than 1 million households in the cities of Langfang and Baoding by the end of October.

In January, partly due to unfavorable weather conditions, the PM2.5 density of 13 cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region reached 128 micrograms per cubic meter, up 43.8 percent year on year.

Minister of Environmental Protection Chen Jining urged solid implementation of the measures to achieve remarkable air quality improvement. He said the ministry would launch inspections to push local authorities to fulfill their duties in environmental protection.

The average density of PM 2.5, tiny particles in the air that are hazardous to health and cause smog, in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region dropped by 26.5 micrograms per cubic meter, or 30 percent, from 2013 to 2016, according to satellite data released by the Chinese Academy of Sciences yesterday.

The academy, at a press conference in Beijing, disclosed findings of its researchers on the cause, early warning, forecasting and surveillance of smog as well as clean coal technology.

According to remote-sensing satellite data, despite the overall lowering of smog density in the region, air quality worsened in Beijing during the winter.


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