China’s Tangshan city will shut 199 polluting factories by cutting their power supply next week, according to a statement on the local government’s website.
The city, 170 kilometers (106 miles) east of the capital Beijing, will cut power from May 20 to iron and steel facilities including three ore-sintering lines of Tangshan Iron & Steel Group and two at Guofeng Iron & Steel Group. In addition, it will shut outdated facilities at 31 companies, 136 unlicensed quarries and 28 other illegal manufacturers by May 31, according to the statement.
Chinese authorities have sought to appease public anger after smog in Beijing hit hazardous levels in January. Pollution has surpassed land disputes as the biggest cause of protests in China, Chen Jiping, a former leading member of the Communist Party’s Committee of Political and Legislative Affairs, said in March.
“This sounds like the toughest measure on plant closures since 2010 as the pollution in Beijing caused public concern,” said Xu Xiangchun, chief analyst with researcher Mysteel.com, “Whether it will have a big impact depends on the implementation.”
Operations at the sintering facilities won’t be resumed until desulfurizing devices are added and they meet environmental standards, the Tangshan government said in the statement.
The cut in power is estimated to reduce Tangshan Iron & Steel’s production by about 10,000 metric tons a day and Guofeng’s by as much as 5,000 tons, Mysteel’s Xu said. Tangshan Steel is a unit of Hebei Iron & Steel Group, China’s biggest mill, which produced 69.2 million tons of the alloy last year.
China will impose emission limits on six polluting industries including coal-fired power plants and steel and petrochemical factories to improve air quality in major cities, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said Feb. 20 on its website.
— With assistance by Helen Yuan