Beijing on Monday has laid down a new set of schemes meant to reduce its pollution emissions, as the China Meteorological Administration (CMA) commence issuing forecasts for air pollution conditions around the country.
In its five-year clean air action plan (2013-2017), the Beijing municipal government, China's capital and smoggiest, said it will limit cars, outdoor barbecues and coal burning as it pledged to reduce the city's PM 2.5 density by 25 per cent or more four years from now.
Effective January 2014, the number of new cars allowed to navigate Beijing's road will be restricted so that the number of vehicles in the city will be no more than six million by 2017. As of end July, the city already has 5.35 million vehicles, according to figures released by the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau.
Vehicle exhaust, based on a report issued by a research team under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has been revealed to be Beijing's top sources of air pollution, contributing an overall 22.2 per cent to the city's PM2.5 density concentrations.
Chang'an Avenue in Beijing.
"In order to curb vehicle emissions, we have to introduce a market mechanism to reduce intensity of vehicle use," Li Kunsheng, an official in charge of vehicle emission management with the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, was quoted by Xinhua News.
Among additional measures being thought of is to increase parking costs as well as fuel prices.
"But both means should be carried out carefully as they may affect people's livelihood," Li added.
With the limited number of vehicles on the road, the municipal government expects a corresponding reduction in total vehicle fuel consumption by 5 per cent or more versus a year ago.
Beijing will also control the use of coal to generate electricity by 13 million metric tonnes by 2017 versus the 2012 level. Outdoor barbecues will likewise be capped in suburban areas.
If successful, Beijing's measures will enable it to reduce PM2.5 concentrations to 60 microgrammes per cubic meter in 2017.
"It's a declaration of war against PM 2.5," the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said in a statement on its website.
"The city will work relentlessly to improve air quality."
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