Beijing slaps ban on winter construction in bid to improve air quality
All major public projects will be halted from November to March, when smog levels are often at their worst
Almost all major public construction projects in Beijing will be halted this winter in an effort to improve the city’s notorious air quality, official media said on Sunday, citing the municipal commission of housing and urban-rural development.
Road and water projects, and the demolition of housing will be banned from November 15 to March 15 within Beijing’s six major districts and surrounding suburbs, Xinhua reported.
The period spans the four months when the city government provides heating to residential and other buildings.
Some “major livelihood projects”, such as railways, airports and affordable housing, may be allowed to continue, providing they are approved by the commission, the report said.
It added that the city government will step up supervision of dust control at any construction sites that do remain operational and implement restrictions on the use of machinery with high emissions. Violations of the new rules will be strictly punished, it said.
China is in the fourth year of a “war on pollution” designed to reverse the damage done by decades of untrammelled economic growth, and allay concerns that hazardous smog, and widespread water and soil contamination are causing hundreds of thousands of early deaths every year.
Beijing has promised to impose tough industrial and traffic curbs across the north of the country this winter in a bid to meet key smog targets.
In the capital, it is aiming to reduce concentrations of the tiny airborne particles known as PM2.5 by more than a quarter from their 2012 levels to 60 micrograms per cubic metre.
Last year the city experienced near record-high smog in January and February, which the government blamed on “unfavourable weather”.