Beijing Will Cut Coal Burning and Barbecues in Bid to Fight Smog

The Chinese capital will limit cars, outdoor barbecues and coal burning under new measures to reduce air pollution that exceeded recommended World Health Organization levels by nearly 40 times in January.

Coal use for electricity consumption in Beijing will be reduced by 13 million metric tons by 2017 from the 2012 level, while limits will be put on outdoor barbecues in suburban areas and the number of cars will be kept below 6 million, the city government said in a statement today.

The restrictions follow 10 pollution control measures that the country announced in June, after levels of PM2.5, the fine particulates that pose the greatest health risk, hit a record 993 in January. At his first briefing as China’s premier in March, Li Keqiang said China’s smog gave him a “heavy heart” and promised more vigorous efforts to fight it.

The measures in Beijing are meant to reduce concentrations of PM2.5 by 25 percent to about 60 micrograms per cubic meter in 2017 from last year. The World Health Organization recommends 24-hour exposure to PM2.5 of no higher than 25.

The measures announced today also include closing 1,200 companies that generate pollutants and limiting public offerings of companies that violate environmental laws. The city had 5.2 million vehicles at the end of last year, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

— With assistance by Sarah Chen

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