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Beijing looks to neighboring provinces to help curb air pollution during Olympics

Beijing looks to neighboring provinces to help curb air pollution during Olympics

Beijing is ordering neighboring provinces to reduce industrial pollution this summer to help clean up the Chinese capital's air during the Olympic Games, state media reported Tuesday.
Beijing and surrounding areas are being told to cut back factory operations and increase the use of technology to clean their emissions, the China Daily newspaper said.
It said authorities were hoping to avoid shutting down industries altogether in order to temper the economic impact. The full extent of pollution control measures, however, would depend on atmospheric conditions during the Aug. 8-24 Games, it said.
"The air quality of Beijing is definitely influenced by neighboring provinces and ... we have made this move to guarantee air quality," State Environmental Protection Agency official Wang Jian was quoted as saying by the paper.
Concerns over heat, humidity and polluted air in Beijing have set national Olympic committees scrambling for ways to protect their athletes, especially those competing in outdoor endurance events.
Already, the capital has announced plans to shut down construction sites, gas stations and oil depots to reduce the amount of dust and harmful chemicals in the air, and has begun shutting down blast furnaces at the city's biggest steel maker.
Temporary traffic restrictions to ease congestion and reduce vehicle exhaust are also being mulled.
Beijing hopes the Olympics will also build momentum behind longer-term pollution reduction plans, including rules to reduce use of plastic bags and tougher standards for power plants and the steel industry. Wang said more than 10 factories in Beijing and the surrounding province of Hebei that were scheduled to close over the next two years will now be shut by June.
The newly announced rules apply to Hebei and the neighboring provinces of Shanxi and Shandong, along with the coastal city of Tianjin and the sprawling Inner Mongolia autonomous region to the north, the report said.
It said reductions would be required starting in July, although other reports have said measures could begin taking effect as early as May.
Additional restrictions on vehicles, building sites and industry could be enacted in the event of bad weather, although positive forecasts appear to show those won't be needed, Wang was quoted as saying.
"As long as the plan is carried out properly, we will have no problem in meeting the standard of air quality for the Olympics and Paralympics," Wang said, referring to the games for physically disabled athletes that follow the regular Olympics.


Updated : 2021-04-14 18:22 GMT+08:00