Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- China will impose emission limits on six polluting industries including coal-fired power plants and steel and petrochemical factories as soon as March 1 to improve air quality in major cities.
China “must strictly impose” the limits to improve air quality, according to a statement posted on the Ministry of Environmental Protection website today that cited a meeting headed by Minister Zhou Shengxian. Existing plants and new thermal power, steel, oil, cement, metal and chemical projects in 47 cities will have to adhere to the new emission standards, according to the statement.
China, which the World Bank estimates has 16 of the world’s 20 most-polluted cities, is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The burning of coal is the main source of pollution, accounting for 19 percent, while vehicle emissions contribute 6 percent, according to a study by Greenpeace and Peking University’s School of Public Health published Dec. 18.
Pollution in Beijing rose to a record on Jan. 12 sparking criticism of the government’s handling of the environment. Li Keqiang, set to become China’s next premier, called for patience as authorities work to reduce emissions.
Beijing has proposed rules that would scrap old vehicles, ban new cement and steel factories and impose fines on roadside vendors barbecuing food on smoggy days.
Steelmaker Shougang Corp., identified by the government as Beijing’s largest industrial polluter, closed its main facility in Beijing for the Olympic Games in 2008 and built a 67.7 billion yuan ($10.8 billion) plant in the bordering Hebei province.
Coke production is a major source of pollution from steel production, releasing coke oven gas, naphthalene and ammonium compounds into the air, according to the University of Illinois website.
Shanghai, the world’s busiest container port and home to the larger of China’s two stock exchanges, twice issued a haze warning this year after pollution levels climbed. The air quality index rose to “heavily polluted” in four of the 10 days through Feb. 1, according to the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center.
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