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Vice-premier urges efforts on air pollution control in North China

Updated: Jul 31,2017 9:18 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli on July 31 urged solid efforts on air pollution control in North China in the coming fall and winter seasons.

China has made progress in the fight against air pollution in the first half of this year, but the situation in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and other nearby areas remains grim and there are still weak links in air pollution control, especially in the fall and winter seasons, Zhang said at a meeting in Beijing.

Authorities should take targeted measures to prevent air pollution and tackle key problems, Zhang said.

As many rural areas still rely on coal for winter heating, the Vice-premier urged promoting the use of clean coal in these areas.

The government will also act against polluting enterprises, Zhang said, noting stricter emission standards shall be enforced.

Zhang also asked for strengthened regulation of vehicle exhaust and sales of oil products, as well as giving more play to railways in cargo transport.

The measures came after Beijing and surrounding areas reported fewer days with “good air” in the first half of 2017.

In 13 cities of the region, air quality was rated good or excellent on 50.7 percent of the days during the period, down 7.1 percentage points year on year. The density of PM2.5 and PM10 in these cities meanwhile climbed 14.3 percent and 13.2 percent, respectively.

Zhang stressed local responsibilities, saying officials in areas that fail to meet air quality improvement goals will be held accountable.

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