Business / Economy

Pollution control slashes GDP growth in Beijing's neighbor

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-01-09 09:19

SHIJIAZHUANG - Beijing's neighboring province Hebei, known for its industrial pollution, has reported GDP growth of 6.5 percent in 2014, 1.5 percentage points below target and well behind the 7.7 percent seen in 2013.

GDP of the province stood at 2.9 trillion yuan ($467 billion) last year, governor Zhang Qingwei told the annual session of provincial people's congress Thursday.

Chen Yongjiu, director of the provincial development and reform commission, said lower market demand, eliminating excessive capacity and air pollution control were among the reasons for the slowdown. He estimated that the latter two factors had dragged 1.75 percentage points off growth.

Governor Zhang said the province reduced production capacity of iron by 15 million tons, steel by 15 million tons, cement by 39 million tons and flat glass by 25 million weight boxes, in 2014. The four industries are major sources of air pollution.

Benefitting from the reductions, the average density of PM2.5 fell by 12 percent in 11 cities in the province last year, and the number of days with heavy air pollution was 14 less than in 2013, according to Zhang.

To combat smog, the State Council, China's cabinet, targeted cutting iron and steel production by 80 million tons by 2017, and Hebei was ordered to bear three quarters of the cut. The province is also due to reduce cement production capacity by 60 million tons and coal by 40 million tons.

All things considered, the province set the GDP growth target at 7 percent in 2015.

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