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Beijing to restrict burning of polluting coal
By Di Fang (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-17 01:48

Beijing is moving to ban the burning of high sulphur-content coal to ensure it has a large enough number of clean air days this year.

Four departments of the Beijing municipal government began conducting joint investigations on Wednesday into the burning of coal for heating in the coming winter.

The move aims to help fulfil the capital city's goal of having 62 per cent of days this year enjoy good air quality, the Beijing News reported.

Three companies were inspected on Wednesday by the departments including the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Quality and Technology Supervision.

More than 3,000 boilers currently burn coal for heating in urban Beijing.

According to sources with the local quality and technology supervision authority, the content of sulphide in coal should not exceed 0.5 per cent.

The local government has continued to promote the usage of high-quality coal that contains less sulphide.

Those companies whose boilers produce excessive sulphur dioxide will be fined 100,000 yuan (US$12,000) by the environmental protection bureau.

And enterprises that burn sulphur-rich coal will be fined 30,000 yuan (US$3,600).

According to previous experience, winter sees more serious air pollution than Beijing's other seasons, sources said.

In November and December in recent years, days that witnessed good air quality per month was normally less than 18 due to the large amount of coal burned for heating.

"It is urgent now to get coal pollution under control," Feng Yuqiao, an official of the local environmental protection bureau, was quoted by the Beijing News as saying.

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