Fac­to­ries halted to clear air in Bei­jing

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHENG XIN zhengxin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ap­prox­i­mately 200 pol­lut­ing fac­to­ries were shut down tem­po­rar­ily this year in Bei­jing, greatly im­prov­ing the cap­i­tal’s air qual­ity, a city en­vi­ron­ment of­fi­cial said.

Zheng Zai­hong, deputy head of the pol­lu­tion preven­tion and con­trol depart­ment of the Bei­jing En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Bureau, also said the city has re­duced ce­ment pro­duc­tion by 1.5 mil­lion met­ric tons and slashed the con­sump­tion of coal by 110,000 tons.

Zheng, re­port­ing this year’s in­dus­trial emis­sions for the cap­i­tal at a news con­fer­ence on Thurs­day, said fac­to­ries pro­duc­ing con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als, chem­i­cals and fur­ni­ture­mak­ing as well as cast­ing and forg­ing op­er­a­tions, were among the most af­fected.

“The sub­ur­ban dis­tricts, in­clud­ing Tongzhou and Fang­shan, saw the most sus­pen­sions,” he said.

Liu Ming, deputy head of the en­ergy con­ser­va­tion depart­ment at Bei­jing Com­mis­sion of Econ­omy and In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy, said the clo­sures and up­grades to pol­lut­ing fac­to­ries in Bei­jing this year have greatly re­duced the city’s air pol­lu­tion.

“In­dus­trial smoke and dust were cut by 4,000 tons, ni­tric ox­ide by 7,000 tons and volatile or­ganic com­pounds by some 8,000 tons,” he said dur­ing the con­fer­ence.

Liu said it would be harder for com­pa­nies that pol­lute the air, in­clud­ing ce­ment, petro­chem­i­cal and iron and steel busi­nesses, to ob­tain ap­provals for fu­ture projects be­cause of the city’s stricter emis­sions rules.

“It’s a dif­fi­cult choice for Bei­jing be­cause the in­dus­tries have con­trib­uted con­sid­er­ably to the cap­i­tal’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment,” he said. “But we must im­ple­ment stricter stan­dards be­cause air pol­lu­tion has be­come a very sig­nif­i­cant is­sue in the cap­i­tal and in cities across the na­tion.”

The gov­ern­ment of Huairou dis­trict, in the out­skirts of Bei­jing, de­clined ap­pli­ca­tions for 78 in­dus­trial projects this year, many of which were for the pro­duc­tion of ce­ment and steel.

A petro­chem­i­cal re­fin­ery project that had an in­vest­ment of more than 30 bil­lion yuan ($4.9 bil­lion) by the Sinopec Bei­jing Yan­shan Com­pany was re­cently turned down.

“It’s a process we have to go through de­spite the eco­nomic losses,” Liu said.

He added that the cap­i­tal should en­hance its tran­si­tion from a la­bor-in­ten­sive and heavy-in­dus­try-ori­ented city to a high-end one. Bei­jing has al­lo­cated about 250 mil­lion yuan to sup­port the con­struc­tion of in­dus­trial parks and en­ergy con­ser­va­tion and emis­sions re­duc­tion tech­nolo­gies, ac­cord­ing to the com­mis­sion.

“The cap­i­tal still has a lot of po­ten­tial to tap into in­dus­tries that re­duce in­dus­trial emis­sions,” he said. “The ap­pli­ca­tion of ad­vanced sciences and tech­nolo­gies will greatly re­duce the amount of pol­lu­tion emis­sions and hazards im­posed on one’s health.”

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