Win­ter build ban to cut smog

Bangkok Post - - ASIA - REUTERS

BEI­JING: Bei­jing will sus­pend con­struc­tion of ma­jor pub­lic projects in the city this win­ter in an ef­fort to im­prove the cap­i­tal’s no­to­ri­ous air qual­ity, of­fi­cial me­dia said yes­ter­day, cit­ing the mu­nic­i­pal com­mis­sion of hous­ing and ur­ban-ru­ral de­vel­op­ment. All con­struc­tion of road and wa­ter projects, as well as de­mo­li­tion of hous­ing, will be banned from Nov 15 to March 15 within the city’s six ma­jor dis­tricts and sur­round­ing sub­urbs, said the Xin­hua re­port.

The pe­riod spans the four months when heat­ing is sup­plied to the city’s hous­ing and other build­ings.

China is in the fourth year of a “war on pol­lu­tion” de­signed to re­verse the dam­age done by decades of un­tram­melled eco­nomic growth and al­lay con­cerns that haz­ardous smog and wide­spread wa­ter and soil con­tam­i­na­tion are caus­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of early deaths ev­ery year.

Bei­jing has promised to im­pose tough in­dus­trial and traf­fic curbs across the north of the coun­try this win­ter in a bid to meet key smog tar­gets.

In the cap­i­tal, it is aim­ing to re­duce air­borne par­ti­cles known as PM2.5 by more than a quar­ter from their 2012 lev­els and bring av­er­age con­cen­tra­tions down to 60 mi­cro­grammes per cu­bic me­tre.

Last year the city ex­pe­ri­enced near record-high smog in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary, which the gov­ern­ment blamed on “un­favourable weather con­di­tions”.

Some “ma­jor liveli­hood projects” such as rail­ways, air­ports and af­ford­able hous­ing may be con­tin­ued how­ever, pro­vid­ing

they are ap­proved by the com­mis­sion, said the re­port.

It added that the gov­ern­ment will step up su­per­vi­sion of dust con­trol on city con­struc­tion sites and im­ple­ment re­stric­tions on use of ma­chin­ery with high emis­sions. Vi­o­la­tions of the new rules will be strictly pun­ished, it added.

Pedes­tri­ans don masks to guard against smog in Bei­jing last De­cem­ber.

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