Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area to see heavy air pollution

Updated 2017-11-03 09:03:06 Xinhua

The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and nearby areas will see heavy air pollution from Nov. 4 to Nov. 8, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) warned, urging local authorities to be alert and make plans.

From Nov. 4 to Nov. 7, the central and west of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, as well as some areas of Shanxi, Shandong and Henan provinces, will experience heavy pollution, with the pollutant density reaching a peak on Nov. 6, according to the MEP.

The ministry attributed the pollution to unfavorable weather conditions.

A cold front is expected to disperse the pollution from Nov. 7 to Nov. 8, the MEP predicted.

Despite government efforts to fight pollution, frequent outbreaks of smog have become increasingly common in winter in northern China where cold weather conditions and the burning of coal for heating combine to exacerbate the situation.

To improve air quality in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area, China has replaced dirtier coal use and penalized polluters in its latest efforts to lower the intensity of smog.

Inspection teams have been dispatched to cities identified as sources of pollution and companies in breach of emission rules, according to MEP.

Beijing imposed more than 160 million yuan (nearly 24 million U.S. dollars) in fines on sources of pollution in the first ten months of this year, up 77 percent from a year ago, and set up an "environmental protection police" force. Some 1,414 officials were held accountable in Tianjin, which tripled fines on polluting companies to 249 million yuan.

Hebei phased out 33,600 small coal-fired boilers and reduced an oversupply in steel and cement capacity by more than 40 million tonnes and two million tonnes, respectively, to reduce dust emissions.

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