China to issue new plan for air pollution control

Updated: 2013-05-29 10:24


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A national plan for air pollution control could be outlined as early as this week, said, a professional financial news website Tuesday.

The outline will target the reduction of air pollution on a national scale by establishing clear standards of air quality in different regions.

Coal plants, motor vehicles and dust that produce fine particulate matter will be the focus of strict control in the outline initiated by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, according to multiple sources who told the news website.

The overall plan has undergone multiple revisions and will be submitted to the State Council, China's cabinet, for review by the end of this month, the Shanghai Securities News quoted Yang Tiesheng, deputy director of the energy saving department under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, as saying on May 22.

The specific measures put forward by the plan include stipulating the declining rates of atmospheric pollutants such as PM2.5 (particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter), sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide in cities, the reduction of coal consumption throughout the country, as well as the promotion of using clean energy such as natural gas, while banning coal-fired power plants in cities and minimizing heavy-polluting vehicles.

The Yangtze River Delta region and the Pearl River Delta region will be the key areas of the new air pollution prevention campaign.

Roughly one million heavy-polluting vehicles, popularly known as "yellow label cars", will be prohibited from driving on roads in Beijing, Tianjin municipality and Hebei province, which would reduce half of the PM2.5 by vehicle emissions alone, said one environmental expert as quoted by the news website.

The outline stipulates that air quality must "make substantial progress" in the upcoming five years rather than the next 20 years, a standard previously adhered to by big cities such as Beijing, according to a source from the National Development and Reform Commission, China's economic planning body.

Grade II air quality stipulates the average concentration of PM2.5 over a 21 hour period should be between 35 to 75 milligrams per cubic meters, according to the latest standard made by the Ministry of Environmental Protection in 2012.