He­bei to re­duce house­hold coal use

Move ex­pected to cut ‘dirty and smelly’ emis­sions, help re­gion im­prove air qual­ity

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YU in Shi­ji­azhuang zhangyu1@chinadaily.com.cn

A year from now, He­bei prov­ince will cut out all house­hold coal-burn­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in ar­eas sur­round­ing Beijing, a move to re­duce pol­lu­tion in the Beijing-Tian­jin-He­bei re­gion.

The ar­eas, mainly in Lang­fang and Baod­ing, in­clude 3,749 vil­lages where coal is used in house­holds for heat­ing and cook­ing.

By the end of Oc­to­ber next year, the vil­lages will use gas for heat­ing and cook­ing, or em­ploy elec­tric de­vices, ac­cord­ing to a plan re­leased re­cently by the pro­vin­cial govern­ment.

As mo­ti­va­tion, vil­lagers will re­ceive elec­tric or gas sub­si­dies for three years based on the cost of re­plac­ing their coal­burn­ing de­vices.

At the same time, places des­ig­nated as “coal-re­stricted ar­eas” will ac­cel­er­ate the devel­op­ment of cen­tral heat­ing fu­eled by clean en­ergy. For power plants and cen­tral heat­ing sta­tions that are us­ing coal as fuel, they can still use coal, but must meet the low­est emis­sion stan­dard.

By the end of 2020, all fuel for pro­duc­ing heat in the area should be clean en­ergy, ac­cord­ing to the plan.

Gao Hongchao, whose par­ents live in Zhoumafang vil­lage, Lang­fang, which is in the coal-re­stricted area, said that her par­ents wel­comed the change, be­cause “coal-burn­ing at home was dirty and smelly”.

Ac­cord­ing to Wang Wei, a pro­fes­sor at the School of Re­sources andEn­vi­ron­men­tal Sci­ences ofHe­beiNor­malUniver­sity in Shi­ji­azhuang, coal­burn­ing for heat­ing is “the chief cul­prit of air pol­lu­tion in win­ter”, as the cold weather con­di­tions in­hibit pol­lu­tants from dis­pers­ing.

House­hold coal-burn­ing de­vices dis­charge emis­sions di­rectly into the air, with­out any treat­ment for en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, he said.

“If they are re­placed by clean en­ergy, it will help to im­prove air qual­ity,” he said.

In ad­di­tion toHe­bei, Beijing and Tian­jin are also re­duc­ing coal con­sump­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2016-2017 Strength­en­ing Mea­sures Guide for the Con­trol of Air Pol­lu­tion in Beijing-Tian­jinHe­bei Re­gion re­leased by the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion in July, Beijing will ba­si­cally elim­i­nate the use of coal by the end of Oc­to­ber next year, and Tian­jin will tighten reg­u­la­tion of coal­burn­ing for heat­ing in the ru­ral Wuqing district, which is near the cap­i­tal.

Ac­cord­ing to the guide, next year’s av­er­age an­nual con­cen­tra­tion of PM 2.5— haz­ardous par­tic­u­late mat­ter less than 2.5 mi­crom­e­ters in di­am­e­ter — will be re­duced to 60 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter in Beijing and Tian­jin, and 67 in He­bei.

With the ar­rival of cold weather, heavy smog has al­ready hit the Beijing-Tian­jinarea sev­eral times this year. More smog is ex­pected af­ter the cen­tral heat­ing sys­tem is switched on next week and vil­lages’ coal-fu­eled heat­ing starts.

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