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China to improve inspection of heavy industries for better air

China’s environmental protection officials said drastic steps are being taken to ensure better air quality in the capital Beijing and surrounding areas, which have the worst air pollution in all of China.

At a press conference on Oct 31, officials from the Ministry of the Environmental Protection and Environmental Protection Bureaus from Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province discussed a comprehensive plan on the measures being implemented to reduce air pollution for the 2017 to 2018 fall and winter seasons.

Authorities said they will improve inspection and supervision of companies in various heavy industries such as iron, steel, coal and cement which are big polluters. The Hebei provincial environmental protection department said government moves will be coordinated and will be based on scientific research.

Fang Li, the director of Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, said that Beijing has been working on this clean energy transformation of coal-fired boilers on a large scale.

According to Fang, the city will replace coal by the end of this year with high-quality energy consumption accounting for 90 percent of the total. Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei also released the first uniform standard for environmental protection to monitor the pollution of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in architectural coatings through the entire process.

As for public participation, the regions are encouraging residents to send in their comments, raise awareness on the science of air pollution, and are offering incentives for the public to report on violations. This will gradually change air pollution management in society.

The Tianjin bureau also said it will vigorously promote the environmental protection actions to make the air in the city fresh in the future: It will insist on the inspection and supervision of the city’s comprehensive powder coal users, firmly control and replace coal-fired boilers with clean energy, and monitor the governance of companies with VOCs like steel, casting and other enterprises with unorganized emissions.

Besides the actions above, the city will also use internet and overhead video technology to monitor anyone and anything that will damage the environment.