Win­ter smog con­trol made a top pri­or­ity

Lev­els of PM2.5 in the Beijing-Tian­jin-He­bei area had been re­duced by 14.3 per­cent year-on-year

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHENG JINRAN zhengjin­ran@chi­

The Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion has sent 10 teams to in­spect the per­for­mance of20prov­inces in con­trol­ling air pol­lu­tion amid calls to re­duce smog in win­ter af­ter north­ern re­gions ex­pe­ri­enced poor air qual­ity re­cently.

The in­spec­tion teams will fo­cu­son­the im­ple­men­ta­tion of ma­jor ef­forts such as shut­ting down il­le­gal con­struc­tion projects and pol­lut­ing com­pa­nies, and re­view­ing reg­u­lar in­spec­tions of lo­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal teams, the min­istry said.

The 20 prov­inces to be in­spected in­cludes the north­ern and north­east­ern prov­inces of Tian­jin, He­bei, Shanxi, He­nan and Liaon­ing, as well as south­ern prov­inces such as Fu­jian and Guang­dong.

The min­istry high­lighted the need to ad­dress heavy smog ex­pected in the com­ing win­ter, es­pe­cially in the Bei­jin­garea.

When Beijing’s cen­tral heat­ing sys­tem is switched on in mid-Novem­ber, a sub­stan­tial rise in car­bon emis­sions, as well as static weather pat­terns, would make it dif­fi­cult for air­borne pol­lu­tants to dis­perse, caus­ing smog and poor air qual­ity.

How­ever, vast ar­eas in the coun­try’s north­ern re­gions have al­ready been hit by se­vere smog, sev­eral weeks be­fore the cen­tral heat­ing sys­tem has been switched on.

Smog af­fected 70 cities in the Beijing-Tian­jin-He­bei area and neigh­bor­ing prov­inces on Oct 17 and 18, and ex­panded to cover an area of 260,000 square kilo­me­ters on Oct 19, the min­istry said.

Chen Jin­ing, min­is­ter of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, urged lo­cal gov­ern­ments to

Con­tin­ued ef­forts in the re­gion could help to pre­vent the air qual­ity from­wors­en­ing in­win­ter.” head of the School of En­vi­ron­ment at Ts­inghua University

He Ke­bin, make greater ef­forts in deal­ing with air pol­lu­tion.

Com­pli­cated is­sues such as in­dus­trial struc­tures; energy con­sump­tion, par­tic­u­lar­lyre­lat­ing to coal; and heavy traf­fic have­made­con­trol­ling air pol­lu­tion a tough task in the re­gion, but it must be a pri­or­ity in the com­ing months, Chen said.

The min­istry­hashigh­lighted the need to re­duce smog in win­ter if the coun­try is to meet cen­tral govern­ment goals by 2017.

He Ke­bin, head of the School of En­vi­ron­ment at Ts­inghua University, said a na­tional cam­paign to re­duce smog has helped im­prove air qual­ity, ad­ding that un­til Oct 19, lev­els of PM2.5 — fine par­tic­u­late mat­ter less than 2.5 mi­crom­e­ters in di­am­e­ter that is haz­ardous to hu­man health — had been low­ered by 14.3 per­cent year-on-year in the Beijing-Tian­jin-He­bei area.

“The im­prove­ment was not large enough to present vis­i­ble changes, but con­tin­ued ef­forts in the re­gion could help to pre­vent the air qual­ity from wors­en­ing in win­ter,” He said.

• Editorial Editorial

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