• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 8:14am

Beijing sets pollution targets for all provinces as smog worsens

State Council will check progress and officials who miss goals will be 'summoned for a talk'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 January, 2014, 12:01am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 January, 2014, 12:04pm

All 31 provincial governments have signed up for specific air pollution pledges for the next four years as the mainland's leadership struggles to deal with worsening smog.

Eleven municipalities and provinces - mostly industrialised and economically well-off regions - are now required to cut levels of PM2.5, particulates smaller than 2.5 microns considered most hazardous to health, by 10 to 25 per cent by 2017 under an extended programme to tackle the smog-induced pollutants, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said in a statement late on Tuesday.

The metropolis of Chongqing, coal-rich Shanxi and Inner Mongolia , and populous Shandong have been assigned targets to cut PM2.5 levels by between 10 and 20 per cent. Previously only industrialised city clusters around Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have adopted such goals.

Yunnan and Hainan provinces, and the Tibetan autonomous region , have been asked to keep improving their air quality, but with no specific targets given, while the other provinces will have to cut their levels of the larger PM10 by between five and 15 per cent, the ministry said.

The provincial targets offer a detailed breakdown of the country's clean-air action plan that runs until 2017, which was unveiled by the State Council in September. The move suggests that the central government is pushing local administrations to take greater responsibility to address worsening air pollution.

The State Council will evaluate each province's progress annually, and officials who fail to meet targets will be "summoned for a talk" by the environmental ministry, the statement said.

In November the top leadership pledged to drop the growth-at-all-cost mentality by reforming a system to appraise local officials, giving more weight to environmental protection.

The environmental ministry has used similar approaches in previous campaigns to tackle pollution but the effect has been limited, said Huang Wei , a climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace.

"If these goals are not taken seriously, the smog problem will only get worse," she said.

The National Meteorological Centre said last week that the mainland had recorded more smoggy days in 2013 than any other year since 1961.

Watch: Heavy smog blanketing several eastern cities in China


Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

Finally! Targets are set! That’s exactly what’s required for air quality to improve!
Know what’s also just as helpful as “targets”?
- Committees
- Endorsements from ex-health ministers that smog is bad
- Think tanks
- Amendments of the targets when they’re not met
- Excuses
- Finger-pointing
Non-complying province will be "summoned for a talk" with the Ministry of Environmental Protection. Now that really is tough! And then what happens if they continue to fail to comply? No doubt another talk. Wow, that is brutal!
That's the Commie way of fixing everything including lung cancer. Just set targets without any policies nor plans nor funding. Then, the crooked ministers in charge of taking a **** do whatever it is they do to feign they have actually done something other than taking a ****, and miraculously in the past, the targets are met. Too bad for them, the air so thick you can grit your teeth on cannot be covered up in a fog (they call it wu, it is actually chen) of dust. They make their annual 5 Year Plans every year. But, they execute poorly, like those they put to death actually don't get shot. They end up in the SE corner of HK Island inside the gated communities with the auctioned plates for golf carts.


SCMP.com Account