Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An Action Plan to Clean Air in Beijing - Get Rid of the Gross Polluters

From China Daily, April 19th, 2011

A new action plan released by the city of Beijing may soon make traditional coal stoves in hutongs, lanes lined with traditional courtyard houses, and fume-releasing vehicles things of the past. The Beijing Municipal Clean Air Action Plan (2011-2015), released on Tuesday by the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau (BMEPB), said the city aims to raise the proportion of annual days with "Excellent" and "Good" air conditions to 80 percent.

To this end, Beijing's six urban districts will update their remaining coal-fired boilers and stoves, refurbishing them with equipment that uses clean energy, said Zhuang Zhidong, deputy head of BMEPB.

"Urban districts will bid farewell to coal burning," said Zhuang, adding that three of the four thermal power plants in the city will also undergo clean energy renovations.

Furthermore, Beijing will implement stricter standards for vehicle exhausts, and the city plans to render obsolete 400,000 vehicles that will fail to meet the new emissions cap, said Zhuang.

Beijing, the host city of the 2008 Olympic Games, has made continuous efforts to alleviate its air pollution problems. Its sulfur dioxide concentration, an important air quality index, was down 36 percent in 2010 from 2005, according to a BMEPB document. Still, air quality in Beijing "lags behind many local and foreign cities," due to its huge number of vehicles and growing energy consumption by a bulging population and bustling construction projects, it said.

Curb old vehicles - China Daily, April 20th, 2011

More than 400,000 high-polluting cars will be removed from Beijing's roads within the next five years, environmental authorities pledged on Tuesday.

As part of ambitious plans to boost the number of "blue-sky days", officials are targeting old clunkers that spew thick fumes into the capital's atmosphere. The project will be carried out step by step, with 50,000 dirty vehicles set to disappear by the end of this year, said Zang Yuanwei, deputy director of the environmental protection bureau's vehicle emissions management division, during a press conference to introduce the new Beijing Clean Air Plan. "Yellow label" cars - those that do not meet the Euro I engine standard - are already banned inside the Sixth Ring Road, but will be further restricted.

However, it remains unclear how the government will meet its 2015 target, with Zang refusing to answer questions from reporters on whether subsidies will be used to encourage owners to give up their cars.

In 2009, authorities successfully removed 106,000 high-polluting vehicles by offering cash incentives. Roughly 500 million yuan was invested over two years. "The measures to limit new cars and optimize the car population are feasible to controlling pollutants," said Zang, who added that long-term regulations will be released in the coming months to ensure stricter monitoring and supervision, such as increasing the required frequency for car safety checks.

Beijing has almost 5 million cars on its roads, according to figures for last December, and to ease congestion authorities have imposed several policies, including a license plate system introduced in April 2009 that bans cars for one day a week.

Between 1999 and 2008, the capital also upgraded its emissions regulations from Euro I to Euro IV. The environmental protection bureau is working on upgrading the standard to Euro V by the end of 2012. "The emissions from just one heavily polluting car roughly equates to 20 conventional cars," said He Kebin, a professor of environmental science and engineering at Tsinghua University.

The clear air plan, which is aimed at boosting the overall environmental quality, sets a target of 292 "blue-sky days" by 2015, up from 286 days last year.

Other projects include the construction of four electric heating plants to replace the current coal-burning facilities and the shutting down or relocation of heavy-polluting enterprises. Dongcheng and Xicheng districts will also be made dust pollution sample zones, while Beijing will work with neighbors Tianjin municipality and Hebei province to establish an air pollution prevention system.

1 comment:

Nethan Vidya said...

Nice, as a small contribution towards clean air I must attract your attention to PALS, PALS is Pure Air Lovers Society it's a growing bunch of people who believe in working towards keeping the air clean.