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North China City Halts Pharma, Steel Plants to Curb Pollution

  • Shijiazhuang city aims to meet 10% cut in PM 2.5 levels
  • At least 3 listed drugmakers halt trading of shares on Monday
Smoke billows from smokestacks at a steel factory in the industrial province of Hebei.
Photographer: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

A northern Chinese industrial hub has imposed a wide-ranging ban on production at drug plants, steel mills and other businesses in a last-ditch attempt to meet this year’s pollution control goals.

The government of Shijiazhuang city said Thursday in a statement on its website that for the remaining 45 days of the year, it will curb output at thermal power plants, halt all production of industries including steel and cement, and limit manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, chemicals and even furniture. The goal is to meet this year’s target for a 10 percent reduction in the levels of PM 2.5, fine particles that pose a risk to human health, according to the statement.