North­ern ar­eas pre­pare for a chal­leng­ing foggy win­ter

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHENG JINRAN zhengjin­ran@chi­nadaily.com.cn

North­ern re­gions of the coun­try will con­front more fre­quent and stronger smog this win­ter due to the im­pact of the La Nina phe­nom­ena, a se­nior air pol­lu­tion con­trol of­fi­cial warned.

La Nina is a pe­ri­odic cool­ing of the sur­face of the equa­to­rial Pa­cific Ocean, which causes ab­nor­mal weather pat­terns.

Bei­jing has ex­pe­ri­enced four rounds of smog since Oc­to­ber, and neigh­bor­ing cities like Tianjin and those in He­bei prov­ince have is­sued emer­gency re­sponse alerts.

“La Nina will bring chal­lenges for gov­ern­ments to con­trol smog dur­ing the heat­ing sea­son, but the peak this year will not be as high as last year,” said Liu Bingjiang, head of the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion’s at­mo­spheric en­vi­ron­ment depart­ment.

In Novem­ber and De­cem­ber, many cities in­clud­ing Bei­jing, and Harbin in Liu Bingjiang, Hei­longjiang prov­ince, sawair qual­ity in­dex read­ings off the chart.

Liu said the Bei­jing-Tian­jinHe­bei re­gion has taken tough mea­sures to re­duce emis­sions. For ex­am­ple, over 500,000 house­holds in the re­gion have changed their en­ergy con­sump­tion from coal to gas or elec­tric­ity, which is fore­cast to cut the emis­sion of sul­fur diox­ide and dust by 40,000 met­ric tons.

But gov­ern­ments are urged to fully im­ple­ment the re­stric­tive mea­sures, es­pe­cially on smoggy days, said Tian Weiy­ong, head of en­vi­ron­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing in the min­istry.

The min­istry’s in­spec­tion teams, which have been in eight smoggy cities since Wed­nes­day, have ex­posed many com­pa­nies that were dis­charg­ing pol­lu­tants against govern­ment re­stric­tions, Tian said.

“For the pol­luters, it’s more than just re­ceiv­ing heavy fines,” he said. “Those who fal­sify mon­i­tor­ing data will face se­vere pun­ish­ments from ju­di­cial or­gans.”

Chen Jin­ing, min­is­ter of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, said the re­vised laws have helped to de­ter pol­luters and re­duce pol­lu­tion.

La Nina will bring chal­lenges for gov­ern­ments to con­trol smog ... but the peak this year will not be as high as last year.”

of­fi­cial from the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion

Cao Yin con­trib­uted to this story.

ZOU HONG / CHINA DAILY

Peo­ple pro­tect them­selves from the pol­lu­tion in Bei­jing’s down­town Guo­mao area dur­ing heavy smog on Fri­day.

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