Beijing Unveils Five-Year Plan to Tackle Air Pollution

Draft of environmental protection program sees creation of 19 eco-industrial parks in national capital, expanded audits of hundreds of local businesses

 

(Beijing) — Beijing plans to have 30% fewer PM2.5 pollutants in its air by 2020.

In a draft version of the city’s 13th five-year environmental protection (or “135”) plan released Tuesday, the municipal government said it also hopes to see at least 204 blue-sky days annually by 2020.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported this January that in 2015, China’s capital had 186 blue-sky days, on which the city’s Air Quality Index (AQI) reading was 100 or lower. The AQI scale ranges from zero to 500, with zero representing the least pollution. China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection considers a reading below 100 to be “good,” and anything under 50 to be “excellent.”

PM2.5 pollutants are fine cancer-causing particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, which penetrate deeper into lungs than larger PM10 particles. PM2.5 particulate matter is created when fuel is burned, while larger pollutants are mostly dust created by construction and other human activity or blown into the city during natural sandstorms.

According to the “135” plan, 19 industrial parks in Beijing will be transformed into eco-industrial parks by the end of 2017, and 400 local companies will have their energy-saving and pollution management efforts audited by 2020.

The plan was revealed days after China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection warned that smoggy weather in northeastern China is set to worsen once municipal heating is turned on in mid-November.

By Teng Jing Xuan

 

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