The Chinese government announced on Monday the country will eliminate 6 million high-polluting vehicles before the end of 2014 in a move to bring down air pollution.
The mandatory rule applies to vehicles that do not meet exhaust emissions standards. Of the vehicles to be eliminated this year, 20 percent are in the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin, as well as Hebei Provnce -- all northern regions frequently troubled by smoggy air in recent years.
In a further step, more vehicles will be scrapped next year, involving up to 5 million units in the nation's economically developed regions, such as the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei regions, according to an action plan published by the State Council, China's Cabinet.
"Strengthening control on vehicle emissions will be a major agenda item for the country's energy savings, emissions reductions, and low-carbon development during the next two years," according to the action plan.
A report from environmental authorities showed that 31.1 percent of air pollution in Beijing, the Chinese capital, has come from vehicle exhaust.
In addition to eliminating such polluting vehicles, experts are calling for quality upgrades for fuels, which can also help mitigate air pollution and smog.