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Beijing to learn from APEC example and keep clear air

Updated: Nov 18,2014 11:16 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) is asking Beijing to learn from the emission-reduction strategies used during the APEC meetings and keep the air clean.

Following a strict air pollution control plan for APEC meetings, Beijing’s daily PM 2.5 density fell to 43 micrograms per cubic meter between November 1 and 12, dropping 55 percent year-on-year, and is the best of the same period in five years, according to a circular released by the MEP on Nov 17.

Daily average levels of PM 10, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide also decreased by 44 percent, 57 percent and 31 percent respectively compared to the same period in 2013, it said.

In order to reduce pollution for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings, Beijing and neighboring regions imposed tight limits on car use, ordered factories and construction sites to close and declared a holiday for public-sector employees.

Nearly 61,000 factories were checked and asked to curb production in Beijing and its neighboring areas during the APEC meetings.

Environmental watchdogs sent 16 work teams and mobilized a total of 434,000 people to inspect 123,000 emission-related sites such as construction plants, gas stations, road dust areas and straw burning fields in countryside.

The capital surrounding regions strengthened early warning systems and employed dynamic monitoring of air quality change. They also employed a joint law enforcement approach, in one instance allowing traffic administration ordered an odd-and-even license plate rule for vehicle restrictions and reduced daily traffic by up to 11.7 million cars.

Zhou Shengxian, chief of the MEP, said the government will focus on solving key polluting problems harming the people’s heath and is mulling the inclusion of air quality into its evaluations of its sub-departments.

New factories, or heavy polluting industries, may be prohibited from areas that are plagued by poor air quality and officials deemed accountable for can be punished, he said.