Central government: 5b yuan reward for reducing pollution

Updated: 2013-10-18 08:13

By Zhuan Ti (China Daily)

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All allocated by year's end based on local performance

The Ministry of Finance announced on Monday it will offer rewards totaling 5 billion yuan ($819.5 million) at the end of this year to Beijing municipality and surrounding regions if they are successful in curbing air pollution.

Beijing and Tianjin along with Hebei, Shanxi and Shandong provinces and Inner Mongolia autonomous region are eligible for the special fund. Their local governments signed an agreement in mid-September to meet a series of environmental targets in the next five years.

Around 40 percent of the fund is expected to go to Hebei, whose energy consumption ranks second among provinces and dust emissions top the country.

The central government will factor pollution reduction targets, investment in tackling the problem and declines in PM 2.5 - particulate matter with a diameter smaller than 2.5 micrograms - into deciding the allocation, according to the ministry.

The 5 billion yuan incentive, less than 1 percent of 5.9 trillion yuan in combined GDP generated by Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, was drafted in the face of high demand for environmental protection.

Tianjin alone needs at least 100 billion yuan in investment to realize its goal of reducing PM2.5 concentrations by 25 percent by 2017 compared to 2012, local media reports.

Li Xin, an environmental NGO leader, told Beijing Evening News that the stimulus will exert leverage on local governments and private investors to contribute to fight air pollution.

Worsening air quality has been a top public concern since 2011. The Yangtze River Delta, the Peal River Delta and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei economic ring have become priority areas for air pollution control.

Among the three, the northern region has the worst air quality, according to an environmental report released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection. The report traced the air quality in 74 major cities on the Chinese mainland in the first eight months of the year.

The Beijing municipal government has initiated a five-year Clean Air Action Plan with a total budget estimated at 200 billion yuan to 300 billion yuan.

Massive haze that at times covered one quarter of the country this year is affecting some 600 million people in 17 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions.


 Central government: 5b yuan reward for reducing pollution

Contrasting pictures of Tiantongyuan residential community in Beijing shrouded by smog on Sept 30 and what it looks like on a clear day air. The capital city, hit hard by severe air pollution, is eligible for a portion of the 5 billion yuan reward. Wu Changqing / for China Daily

(China Daily 10/18/2013 page10)