Beijing to shut 2,500 small, polluting firms this year

Beijing to shut 2,500 small, polluting firms this year

BEIJING, Jan. 9 — Beijing will shut down 2,500 small and polluting firms in 2016 in itslatest environmental protection efforts, said the municipal government.

The Fengtai, Fangshan, Tongzhou and Daxing districts are required to close 2,500 smalland polluting enterprises at the end of this year while the whole city will finish the task in2017.

Structural adjustment in recent years has led to a dramatic fall of heavily polluting andhigh energy-consuming companies in the Chinese capital. But small polluting sources suchas restaurants, hotels, garages, and bath houses are increasing, said an official on Friday.

Vice Mayor Li Shixiang ordered safety and risk assessment and comprehensive lawenforcement in closure of small polluters.

Beijing aims to basically eliminate coal use in six downtown districts in two years and help600,000 households shift from coal to clean energy in five years.

The capital, hit by bouts of heavy smog this winter, plans to reduce coal consumption by500,000 tonnes in 2016 and close all coal-fired boilers throughout the city by 2020.

Despite Beijing’s effort to limit air pollution, its average PM2.5 reading in 2015 stood at80.6 micrograms per cubic meter, 1.3 times more than the national standard, official datashow.

Beijing closes schools and bans cars as smog health fears reach highest level

Health

Beijing closes schools and bans cars as smog health fears reach highest level

Beijing issued its first-ever red alert for smog on Monday, urging schools to close and invoking restrictions on factories and traffic that will keep half of the city’s vehicles off the roads. The red alert — the most serious warning on a four-tier system adopted a little over two years ago — means authorities have forecast more than three consecutive days of severe smog. An online notice from the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said it issued the alert to “protect public health and reduce levels of heavy air pollution”.

We have no choice but to step up preventative measures like wearing a mask outdoors at all times.

Beijing hotel staffer Fan Jinglong

Along with school closures and limiting cars to driving every other day depending on the last number of their license plate, a raft of other restrictions will seek to reduce the amount of dust and other particulate matter in the city of 22.5 million people. Officials said extra subway trains and buses would be added to handle the additional strain on public transport. Polluted air throughout broad swaths of China has had severe health effects. Most of the pollution is blamed on coal-fired power plants, along with vehicle emissions and construction and factory work. China, the world’s biggest carbon emitter, plans to upgrade coal power plants over the next five years to tackle the problem, and says its emissions will peak by around 2030 before starting to decline.