If last week, Beijing announced to launch an environmental police force, officials have said the city government would spend more than RMB 18.22 billion (USD 2.6 billion) to combat air pollution and set a cap on the annual average PM 2.5 density.
Acting Mayor Cai Qi told the annual session of the Beijing Municipal People’s Congress on Saturday some of the “tough measures” the city government will enforce this year, based on a government work report. That includes replacing the use of coal in 700 villages with clean energy, phasing out 300,000 smoke belching and old vehicles, and shutting or upgrading more than 2,500 polluting factories.
Meanwhile, the Beijing Municipal Reform and Development Commission said it aims to limit this year’s average PM 2.5 density to around 60 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3). Commission head Lu Yan said the PM 2.5 average in 2016 was 73 ug/m3 following Beijing’s cutting down of coal use by two million tonnes.
Just before 2016 ended, major Chinese cities suffered a cocktail of suffocating air, with Beijing registering its worst polluted week in three years. The city’s municipal education commission followed that week with an announcement that local elementary and middle schools will be given air purifiers purchased using city finances. When and what kind of air cleaning systems are yet to be detailed. Authorities in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, pledged to install air purifiers in all schools and kindergartens, following Tianjin’s move to put air filters in all of its kindergartens, primary and secondary schools last year.
Photo courtesy of Andy Penafuerte