Beijing unveils trillion yuan air pollution plan

By Chen Ximeng Source:Global Times Published: 2013-9-24 23:28:01

Over 1 trillion yuan ($163.4 billion) will be allocated to the fight against air pollution in Beijing amid a newly-issued five-year action plan, dubbed the strongest since 1988, an official in the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection said Monday.

However, only 200 to 300 billion will come from the government.

The rest of the money will be taken from enterprises and other organizations, Wang Xiaoming, director of the publicity department of the bureau, told the Global Times, adding that the contributing enterprises would be those responsible for air pollution.

Over the next five years, the plan calls for the cutting of the concentration of PM2.5 particles (airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter) to a level of around 60 micrograms per cubic meter. This would represent a decline of about 25 percent compared with the 2012 level, according to the Airborne Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan (2013-17) released on September 12.

Of all the plans, this represents the most comprehensive since 1988, when the city started to tackle air pollution, Fang Li, deputy head of the bureau, said at a press conference Monday, The Beijing News reported.

 "One trillion yuan is a large investment into combating air pollution," said Ma Jun, director with the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, adding that transparency would need to be a key component of the plan.

The action plan includes eight pollution reduction projects with 84 specific tasks, divided among 42 bureaus and 23 enterprises in 14 districts and two counties of the city, and outlines the specific people responsible and the timetable, the China Economic Weekly said in a report on Monday.

The plan also calls for the city to cut coal consumption by 13 million tons.

Although 13 million tons is not a small amount, this will not have a significant influence on the city  due to the large coal consumption of  industrial bases in the surrounding areas, Wang Tao, a resident scholar at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy, told the Global Times Tuesday.

The measures to reduce coal consumption should be carried out on a regional basis in coordination with surrounding areas like Hebei, Shanxi and Shandong provinces, and without efforts by these areas, the city alone cannot tackle the pollution from burning coal, Wang said.

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