World

China vows to cut air pollution by at least 15%

SHANGHAI: China pledged to cut average concentrations of airborne particles known as PM2.5 by more than 15 per cent in 28 cities from October to March next year to meet smog targets, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) said.

In a 143-page "battleplan" posted on its website yesterday, the MEP said the target would apply to Beijing and Tianjin, and 26 other cities in the smog-prone provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong and Henan.

The government has already made plans to cut the production of steel and other metals by as much as 50 per cent over winter months in some cities in a bid to prevent smog build-ups.

It aims to cut levels of PM2.5 by more than 25 per cent in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and bring average concentrations down to 60 micrograms per cubic metre in the Chinese capital.

Average concentrations were up in the first seven months of the year as a result of near record-high smog in January and February that China blamed on "unfavourable weather conditions".

But experts still believe China is on course to meet the 2017 targets set out in an air quality action plan published by the government in 2013.

"Air quality from April to June was among the best over the last five years in Beijing, and we have confidence in achieving the target," said Ms Shelley Yang, project manager at the Clean Air Alliance of China. - REUTERS

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