Cities to help neigh­bors

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHENG JINRAN zhengjin­ran@ chi­

Bei­jing and Tian­jin will give fi­nan­cial and tech­no­log­i­cal sup­port to four cities in He­bei prov­ince to help them tackle air pol­lu­tion.

In ad­di­tion, the six cities are to build a uni­fied emer­gency re­sponse sys­tem to cope with heavy smog.

Bei­jing will join forces with its two south­ern neigh­bors, Lang­fang and Baod­ing, while Tian­jin will work with the neigh­bor­ing port cities of Tang­shan and Cangzhou, the Bei­jing En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Bureau said.

The cities in He­bei will re­ceive spe­cial funds and ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy from the two mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties.

All six cities, which form the core area for re­gional ef­forts to con­trol air pol­lu­tion, are to build a uni­fied sys­tem to fore­cast heavy smog and im­ple­ment emer­gency re­sponse mea­sures. The project will draw on the ex­pe­ri­ence gained from the co­or­di­nated ef­forts made dur­ing the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion meet­ings in Bei­jing in Novem­ber, the cap­i­tal’s en­vi­ron­men­tal bureau said.

The cities cur­rently have their own emer­gency sys­tems and im­pose dif­fer­ent re­stric­tions on the use of ve­hi­cles on smoggy days.

Dur­ing the APEC meet­ings, the gov­ern­ments of Bei­jing and Tian­jin, the prov­inces of He­bei, Shan­dong, Shanxi and the In­ner Mon­go­lia au­ton­o­mous re­gion jointly adopted tough mea­sures to im­prove air qual­ity. Work at more than 14,000 fac­to­ries in pol­lut­ing in­dus­tries and 40,000 con­struc­tion sites was suspended.

Their ef­forts meant that res­i­dents saw a clear im­prove­ment as the con­cen­tra­tion of PM2.5 — air­borne par­ti­cles mea­sur­ing 2.5 mi­crom­e­ters or less that can pen­e­trate the lungs and harm health — was re­duced by 30 per­cent in Bei­jing, Fang Li, deputy head of the bureau, said in Novem­ber.

The co­or­di­nated ef­forts by the six core cities are ex­pected to re­duce air pol­lu­tion in a sim­i­lar way, the bureau said on Tues­day.

Of­fi­cials set out a num­ber of ma­jor ar­eas in which ac­tion will be taken this year — cut­ting ve­hi­cle ex­haust emis­sions and coal con­sump­tion, re­duc­ing the amount of straw that is burned by farm­ers, phas­ing out industrial over­ca­pac­ity, low­er­ing emis­sions of volatile or­ganic com­pounds and re­duc­ing pol­lu­tion at ports.

Seven of the 10 Chi­nese cities with the worst air pol­lu­tion are in He­bei, but the prov­ince is mak­ing ef­forts to take at least Lang­fang off the list this year, the pro­vin­cial En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Bureau said on Wed­nes­day.

Bei­jing needs to con­trol the amount of pol­lu­tants blown in from other ar­eas, since they are a ma­jor cause of smog in the cap­i­tal, ac­cord­ing to Ma Zhong, dean of Ren­min Uni­ver­sity of China’s School of En­vi­ron­ment.

Re­search by the Bei­jing en­vi­ron­men­tal bureau found that 28 to 36 per­cent of PM2.5 in the at­mos­phere over the cap­i­tal comes from sur­round­ing ar­eas, in­clud­ing He­bei.

Bei­jing should com­pen­sate He­bei for the eco­nomic losses caused by clo­sures of fac­to­ries that cause pol­lu­tion and the in­tro­duc­tion of more ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy, Ma said.

In ad­di­tion, the gov­ern­ments need to unify stan­dards on pol­lu­tant emis­sions, oil qual­ity and sewage dis­charges.

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