The Shanghai municipal government on Friday released a five-year action plan aimed at improving the city's air quality by reducing the PM2.5 (particular matter of 2.5 microns or less) concentration by about 20 percent by 2017 compared to 2012.
"The air pollution caused by PM2.5 has become a major problem for Shanghai in terms of its air quality index. The average concentration of PM2.5 in Shanghai over the past 12 months was 57 micrograms per cubic meter and 28 percent of the days in the year failed to meet the latest national air quality standards," Wu Qizhou, a deputy director of Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau, said on Friday.
According to Wu, the plan was developed in accordance with Shanghai's practical needs to ensure the city will achieve the goal of reducing pollution caused by six major sectors including the energy industry, manufacturing industry and transportation using 187 specific measures.
The plan includes shutting down the city's 2,500 small coal-fired boilers and 300 industrial kilns, as well as completely banning decentralized coal-fired facilities by 2017. And as many as 2,500 strict structural adjustments requests will be applied to polluting enterprises in Shanghai.
Meanwhile, the city will weed out the remaining 180,000 high-pollution vehicles by 2015 and implement the National Standard V, equivalent to Europe's V standard for vehicle emissions, on all buses by the end of this year. In addition, 60 percent of the buses being added to the roads will need to use clean energy.
Schools will be shut down and vehicles that cause the most pollution will be banned on heavy smog days in Shanghai, according to Wu.
Qian Hua, a deputy director of the atmospheric environment department at the Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences, told the Global Times on Friday that although the government's determination to control air pollution is positive, it will not be easy to achieve the goal as the city's economy is so large.
"The plan needs to be truly enforced in all aspects, for example, not only considering vehicles, but also the emission controls for shipyards and aircraft, as Shanghai is now an international transport hub. It will be hard to win the fight if Shanghai doesn't work with other cities in the Yangtze River Delta area," Qian said.
Meanwhile, according to a plan released by the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau in September, the PM2.5 concentration in the city will be reduced more than 25 percent by 2017 compared to 2012.