May 3, 2018 Read More →

Air Pollution Woes Prompt China to Close Coal Mines and Generating Plants in 3 Cities


BEIJING—China has ordered three northern cities to stop approving new projects that would add to air pollution after they failed to meet air quality targets this past winter.

The mayors of Handan in Hebei province and Jincheng and Yangquan in Shanxi province were given the orders after being summoned to a meeting at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment in Beijing on Thursday to account for their actions during a recent campaign against smog.

The meeting came after the cities failed to meet targets to cut levels of hazardous, breathable particles known as PM2.5 over the October 2017 to March 2018 period. China launched a campaign last October to reduce average concentrations of PM2.5 by between 10-25 percent in 28 northern cities in an effort hit 2013-2017 air quality targets.

[Handan’s mayor, Wang Litong,] said the city planned to close another 300,000 tonnes of steelmaking capacity, 1.1 million tonnes of coal-producing capacity and 268 megawatts of coal-fired power by August. He said three officials have been fired and 14 given warnings.

After struggling for years to force growth-obsessed local governments to toe the line, China’s beefed-up environment ministry now has the authority to hold officials to account for failing to comply with pollution policies. The war on pollution is now a key performance indicator that could determine an official’s promotion prospects, and local authorities said last year that senior officials could even face dismissal if they failed to meet the winter targets.

More: China Bans New Polluting Projects In Three Cities: Ministry


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