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Hebei sets tough goal in fighting air pollution

By Zhang Yu in Shijiazhuang | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-11-07 20:16

Hebei province, Beijing's neighbor that sees severe smog in winter, is striving to control air pollution with multiple measures so that the density of PM2.5 will not increase by the end of the year.

According to Hebei Environmental Protection Bureau, the province's average concentration of PM2.5, hazardous fine particulate matter that's harmful to human health, from January to October increased by 8.5 percent year-on-year to 64 micrograms per cubic meter.

The increasing PM2.5 levels were mainly caused by frequent stagnant air conditions and production activities of heavy industries that discharge pollutants, said Yin Guangping, deputy head of the bureau.

"The incoming two months of the year are the key period for us to offset the increased PM2.5 levels, thus tough multiple measures have been put into place," Yin said.

Hebei has launched a campaign for the period from Oct 1 to March 31 against air pollution.

It includes several steps such as shutting down industrial factories, replacing coal for heating with gas or electricity, removing old heavy-polluting vehicles from roads.

Inspections are also underway to make sure the measures can be carried out thoroughly.

According to the bureau's forecast, if the weather conditions are similar as last winter, when the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region was frequently hit by long-lasting heavy smog, all the measures will make the density of PM2.5 start to fall by the end of the year.

"The task is very difficult, because the backbone of Hebei are heavy industries like iron and steel industry and coal is still the major energy source," Yin said.

He added, although the province is restructuring its economy, the overall situation and environment cannot be totally changed overnight.

Together with Hebei, Beijing and Tianjin are also taking measures to control air pollution during the autumn and winter seasons, when smog often becomes severe.

Since Saturday, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and some neighboring areas have gone through severe air pollution, which is expected to end on Wednesday thanks to a cold front.

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