Polluters given deadline to clean up emissions
Beijing has set timetables for emission limits on some polluting industries, in the latest move to improve air quality in big cities.
From March 1, new coal-fired power plants and steel mills will have to meet "special limits" on emissions to gain approval from the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the ministry's China Environment News said in an online report. It did not give details.
Petrochemical, non-ferrous metals and cement plants and coal-fired industrial boilers will also be subject to emission limits, the report said, without specifying an implementation timeline. The deadlines were set at a meeting on Tuesday chaired by Environmental Protection Minister Zhou Shengxian.
In addition, existing coal-fired power plants in the main urban areas of 47 cities will be subject to "special" emission limits on particulates from July 1 next year.
Steel mills' iron ore dust sintering facilities would also be bound by "special" particulates emission limits from January 1, 2015, the ministry said.
News of the schedules came a day after the publication of an article by the Finance Ministry's head of tax policy, Jia Chen, which said Beijing should impose a tax on carbon dioxide emissions to help meet emission control goals. It also came just over a week after the State Council set deadlines for petrol and diesel producers to meet tougher motor fuel emission standards on their products.
Nationwide supply of petrol and diesel must meet National IV emission standards by the end of next year and the much tougher National V standards by the end of 2017. Vehicle emissions, especially from diesel-burning trucks, contribute the bulk of roadside air pollution in big cities.
The spate of policy initiatives came after Beijing endured some of the worst air pollution in recent memory last month, raising public anger over the central government's lack of progress in controlling chronic pollution.
But an official at one of the largest power producers said: "Without any implementation details of the emission limits, we can't assess the potential impact on our industry and prepare for compliance."