Beijing is planning to develop a network of “ventilation corridors” to help disperse its notorious smog, Xinhua reported on the weekend, citing the city’s planning authorities. But an environmental expert questioned the effectiveness of the approach, saying the better remedy was to cut emissions. The corridors would be created by linking parks, rivers, lakes, highways and low-rise buildings to allow greater air flow, said Wang Fei, deputy head of the city’s urban planning committee. By improving air flow through the city, “the wind can blow away heat and pollutants, easing the urban heat island effect and air pollution,” he told Xinhua. Construction would be strictly controlled in areas within the corridors’ boundaries, and obstacles in the way would be removed if possible, Wang said. Under the plan, five major corridors more than 500 metres wide would stretch from the northern suburbs to the south, with several secondary ventilation corridors more 80 metres wide. READ MORE: North China’s choking, persistent smog ‘a political problem’, says outspoken sociologist Beijing’s urban planners first raised the idea as a potential way to tackle air pollution in 2014. Feasibility studies had been conducted in the past two years, Wang said. But no timetable has been given for the project. Ma Jun, director of the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, said Beijing was trying to fight smog by improving the conditions for pollutants to disperse, but such an approach might not be effective. “It mainly depends on weather conditions,” Ma said. “Most often, it’s not that strong winds cannot enter the city. Rather, it is the lack of wind in calm weather that often leads to heavy pollution . .. More research is needed to prove if ventilation corridors are effective before the city spends huge amounts of funds on such plans.” The better approach was to reduce emissions, Ma said.