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Beijing to Slash Power Supply, Embrace Clean Energy to Fight Air Pollution

Beijing plans to cut power supply and reduce heavy reliance on fossil fuel as this year's focus of its strategy to fight air pollution.

The city's top environment official said on June 13 at a press briefing that the government is following a ten-point plan to improve air quality.

Measures include lowering the annual local electricity generating by 10 percent, replacing coal-fired furnaces with clean energy heating facilities, curbing the use of high-emission and heavy duty diesel vehicles, relocating 500 factories and strict monitoring of 2,570 polluting firms, said Fang Li, director of Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.

Law enforcement and encouraging enterprises to use new technology will also be improved, Fang said.

Beijing, like other parts of north China, suffers from serious air pollution, especially in winter. High concentrations of heavy industries, over reliance on coal and explosive growth of private vehicles are all contributing factors.

Wang Chengjun, deputy director of Beijing Municipal Commission of Housing and Urban-rural Development, said that since 2013, Beijing has implemented 133 projects to improve the environment, with a total cost of 250 billion yuan ($37 billion).

Fang said the average annual density of fine air particular matter PM 2.5, often used as a gauge for air pollution, has been dropping over the past four years, from 89.5 micrograms per cubic meters in 2013 to 73 micrograms per cubic meters in 2016. Other air quality indicatorsPM 10, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide levels dropped 15.2 percent, 64.3 percent, and 8.2 percent respectively between 2012 and 2016.

"In Beijing, we have set up a comprehensive air pollution standards that are on par with the strictest rules applied elsewhere in the world," Fang said.

(Xinhua News Agency June 13, 2017) 

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