Beijing witnessed 39 heavily polluted days last year, 19 days fewer than 2013, said an official of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau at a press conference on Saturday, who also announced ten "strict measures" to fight smog in the Chinese capital this year.
"In 2016, there were 39 days of heavy pollution in Beijing, a reduction of 19 days compared with 2013," said Li Xiang, Deputy Director of the Atmospheric Environment Management Division of the bureau.
According to a report by Chinanews.com, Li attributed the improvement in air quality to a range of measures such as the reduction of coal consumption, the control of vehicle emissions and the closure of high-emission enterprises.
This year will be crucial for Beijing to meet the targets set in China's Airborne Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan (2013-17), according to which, by 2017, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region should have reached a 25 percent reduction in air emissions from 2012 levels, with the average annual density of PM2.5 particles in Beijing falling to about 60 micrograms per cubic meter. Therefore, Beijing will take ten "strict measures" to further curb smog and improve air quality:
1. To promote the transition from coal to clean energy in 700 villages in the rural area;
2. To cut emissions in Beijing from the power sector as much as possible;
3. To transform the remaining 4,000 ton/h coal fired industrial and heating boilers to ones powered by clean energy;
4. To ban light-duty gasoline vehicles of national I and II emission standards from being driven inside the fifth ring roads from February 15, 2017;
5. To install diesel particulate filters on all new heavy-duty diesel vehicles and strictly punish behaviors of excess emission from existing heavy-duty diesel vehicles;
6. To reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides from 10,000 ton/h gas boilers;
7. To clean up 2,560 "dispersed, disordered and dirty" enterprises and shut down 500 manufacturing and polluting enterprises;
8. To replace oil-based paint with water-based paint in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei;
9. To enhance law enforcement and supervision and establish an environmental police force;
10. To intensify regional collaboration mechanism on the prevention of and emergency response to air pollution.