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Beijing will ban plant construction to better air
Last Updated: 2014-01-23 08:56 | CE.cn
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By Li Hongmei

Beijing municipal government stated it will ban the construction of new oil refining, steel, cement and thermal power plants as well as the expansion of existing projects, according to the city's latest policy document aimed at tackling air pollution.

The document, published on the Beijing government website yesterday, said the ban would take effect in March.

The policy document, approved by the local legislature, also commits the capital to cut total emissions of PM2.5 - particularly hazardous fine particles that are a key component of air pollution - by 5 percent this year.

Beijing was hit by weeks of smog last January, prompting central government to pledge tough new measures to improve air quality throughout the country and head off disquiet about the environmental cost of economic growth.

The new measures are part of efforts by Beijing's government to implement a pollution masterplan drawn up by central government last September. This committed China to reduce its dependence on coal and close outdated industrial capacity.

The policy document also said the city would strive to control the total number of vehicles on its roads, as well as establish zones where high-polluting fuels like coal would be banned completely.

Firms that fail to install emissions technology or meet pollution standards could be fined up to 500,000 yuan (US$82,600) and have their emission permit allocation cut for the following year.

Frequent periods of smog are a major source of public complaint in Beijing. It reported 58 days of serious pollution last year and the average PM2.5 index is more than double the new national standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter.

Environment minister Zhou Shengxian said this month that China was looking into establishing a nationwide trading system for pollution permits as part of efforts to establish market mechanisms to clean up its environment.

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