Beijing is stepping up its efforts to improve its air quality – even cracking down on outdoor barbecues, which are illegal under regulations covering air pollution control. But it is the city’s changing attitudes to its coal-fired power plants that are likely to have most impact in its battle against the smog.
According to Reuters, China’s capital has cut its coal use by 7% this year and will ban the fuel altogether by 2020, switching to cleaner, natural gas-fired plants. Last month, the city government also announced it would enforce a ban on the use of high-sulfur coal – the first time such broad controls have been implemented in the Asian giant.
The government has also announced plans to integrate Beijing with the surrounding province of Hebei, where much of the pollution that clouds the city’s skies originates, and the port city of Tianjin. The three areas will be treated as a single entity when it comes to pollution control, with unified industrial and emissions standards.
The region had already agreed to cut coal use by 63 million t this year with the bulk of that – 40 million t – to come from Hebei.
Written by Jonathan Rowland
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