Cabinet steps up air pollution controls

BEIJING: China will prioritize efforts to treat industrial pollution, replace small coal furnaces with clean energy and control emissions from diesel vehicles as part of intensified measures to tackle air pollution in key areas.
The State Council passed the decision at its executive meeting on Wednesday, pledging to make air pollution control measures more targeted while taking full account of factors that worsen air quality in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and neighboring areas.
The meeting, which heard a report from a research program that investigated the causes of heavy air pollution in the region during winter and autumn and possible solutions, also highlighted the need to control ammonia pollution from agriculture and animal husbandry.
With ozone pollution now an increasing problem, the meeting urged heightened scientific research on regionwide air pollution treatment, with steps to promote coordinated treatment of pollution from PM2.5 particulate matter and ozone.
Premier Li Keqiang said at the meeting that controlling air pollution and improving air quality is a matter of concern to the public, and the government must step up science-based treatment measures and promote green development.
China has seen continuous improvements in its air quality, with concentrations of PM2.5 particulate matter down by 10 percent in 337 cities across the country in the first half of this year, according to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. PM2.5 refers to particles with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less that can invade even the smallest airways.
The improvement was even more significant in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and neighboring areas-one of the regions that has suffered the most severe air pollution in recent years-with PM2.5 concentrations down by 16.7 percent and the percentage of days with good air quality up by 12.6 percentage points.
However, concentrations of ozone rose to become the second-biggest airborne pollutant after PM2.5 in the first half, Liu Youbin, a spokesman for the ministry, said at a news briefing on Aug 28.
– The Daily Mail-China Daily News exchange item