China / Politics

Beijing vows cleaner air

By CAO YIN and ZHENG XIN (China Daily) Updated: 2013-01-23 00:45

The Beijing government said on Tuesday it will continue its efforts to deal with air pollution in 2013, promising that the amount of major pollutants will decrease by 2 percent.

The capital will pay more attention to PM2.5, or airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, to improve air quality and make the city more livable, according to a government work report published at the opening of the annual session of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress, the city's top legislature.

Beijing vows cleaner air

A woman covers her nose when walking through dense fog in Beijing on Tuesday. [Bai Jikai / for China Daily] 

To reduce pollution, the heating systems of 44,000 aging single-story houses and coal-burning boilers downtown are to be replaced by clean-energy sources, said Wang Anshun, the city's acting mayor, adding that the government will also take 180,000 old autos off the road.

Qian Xiaomeng, a deputy to the congress, spoke highly of the measures and believed the aim of pollution reduction will be achieved.

"We invested much money on coping with air pollution and made some achievements, but sometimes we didn't keep the results," said Qian, who works in a city park.

Qian added she will advise the government to handle air pollution by extending green land.

The environmental issue also has the attention of another deputy, Wang Zhaoxing, who is from the China Banking Regulatory Commission.

"If the city has no fresh air, foreigners and enterprises will not run businesses here," he said.

Wang added that he hopes a new regulation on air pollution control, released for the public's comments, will be well enforced if passed.

However, some experts said the targeted reduction of pollution by 2 percent is conservative and far from enough to solve the city's air pollution problem.

Zhao Jingwei, a Beijing lawyer specializing in environmental protection, said that despite the government's efforts, the intensity of the pollution could be further reduced.

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