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Harsher punishments urged to battle air pollution

Updated: 2013-11-05 21:48
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - Harsher punishments on polluters are needed to help improve air quality in China, a senior Chinese official said here on Tuesday.

Xie Zhenhua, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, told a press conference less use of coal and emission reduction for automobiles were also crucial to tackle air pollution.

He said increased air pollutants caused by growing social consumption of fossil fuels were the main cause of the worsening smog, which has severely affected people's health.

Those who take irresponsible decisions that lead to severe environmental consequences need to be punished according to the law, he said.

Citing the action plan unveiled in September by the State Council, or China's Cabinet, Xie said the Chinese government has set goals and taken concrete measures to tackle air pollution through developing clean energy sources, boosting green industry and planting more trees.

The government aims to cut the density of inhalable particulate matter by at least 10 percent in major cities nationwide by 2017, according to the action plan.

PM 2.5, a key indicator of air pollution, should fall by about 25 percent from 2012 levels in Beijing and surrounding provincial areas by 2017, the action plan said.

Xie added that it is also important to raise public awareness and change the country's growth and consumption pattern in a timely manner to improve air quality.

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