New fund will pay for re­search on smog

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By ZHENG JINRAN zhengjin­ran@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

A new fund will be set up to pool the knowl­edge of the coun­try’s top sci­en­tists to dis­cover the “unique” cause of smog that fre­quently blan­kets north­ern China in win­ter, Premier Li Ke­qiang an­nounced Wed­nes­day.

“Blue skies will not be, and should not be, a lux­ury,” he said at a news con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day at the end of the an­nual two sessions.

The premier high­lighted the gov­ern­ment’s in­creas­ing fi­nan­cial sup­port for smo­gre­lated re­search, aim­ing to tackle the air pol­lu­tion more ef­fec­tively, af­ter some sci­en­tists pointed out that the causes of smog in north­ern re­gions in win­ter are unique in the world.

ZhouWei­jian, a mem­ber of the Chi­nese Academy of Sci­ences and en­vi­ron­men­tal ex­pert, said there is lit­tle do­mes­tic re­search on the se­vere smog events, which are wide­spread and long last­ing in north­ern re­gions in win­ter.

The smog has com­pli­cated com­po­nents, of which 60 to 70 per­cent are sec­ondary pol­lu­tants gen­er­ated af­ter chem­i­cal re­ac­tions, Zhou said on March 9, when Li at­tended a panel dis­cus­sion with law­mak­ers from Shaanxi prov­ince dur­ing the an­nual ses­sion of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Con­gress, the top leg­is­la­ture.

“We found the ni­tro­gen ox­ides in the air could form sul­fates, thus wors­en­ing the air pol­lu­tion,” she said. “It means con­trols on the use of ni­tro­gen fer­til­izer in North China would work for air pol­lu­tion con­trols.”

The premier said such re­search re­sults de­serve more at­ten­tion, and en­cour­aged more re­search on smog to dig out the causes.

On Wed­nes­day, Li said the gov­ern­ment is de­ter­mined to spend as much as needed for the re­search. He pledged that the coun­try will fight and win the bat­tle against smog, al­though it will be a long process.

NPC deputies also sug­gested dur­ing the an­nual ses­sion that more funds be al­lo­cated to sup­port smog re­search.

Jin Bao­fang, a deputy from He­bei prov­ince, said the cen­tral gov­ern­ment needs to al­lo­cate more re­sources for air pol­lu­tion con­trol mea­sures in­clud­ing re­search in He­bei, which is fre­quently hit by smog.

Tar­geted ef­forts based on thor­ough re­search could speed up the pol­lu­tion con­trol process, he said.

The cen­tral gov­ern­ment also will con­tinue to in­crease reg­u­lar funds for air pol­lu­tion con­trol ef­forts and tighten su­per­vi­sion over their use, Ou Wen­han, spokesman for the Min­istry of Fi­nance, said onMarch 8.

The min­istry al­lo­cated 10.6 bil­lion yuan ($1.5 bil­lion) to aid smog con­trol ef­forts last year.

A new fund for smog re­search is not in­cluded in that amount.

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