Smog response: cutting pollution at source

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21.01.2013 CCTV Peking

Frequent smoggy days are the norm in many of China’s industrial cities. But amid public outcry over the recent air pollution, various efforts ARE being made to reduce the emissions that are at the heart of the problem. CCTV reporter Li Qiong takes a look at some of the factors behind the recent spate of „bad air days“ and finds out what’s being done to make the air cleaner.

Blue sky thinking – High emitting industries in Jinan, capital of Shandong Province, have been told to close down for a few days, following high levels of air pollution.

It’s triggered an immediate improvement.

Lin Feng, vice director at Jinan Environmental Monitoring Team, said, „It’s a temporary move, to ask these companies to limit their production and their discharge of emissions.“

A number of different technologies are already available to factories in China, to cut emissions that cause pollution.

But they don’t completely solve the problem. And combined with the high cost of such technology, local governments are often forced to completely suspend industrial production for short periods, to improve air quality.

Another way to beat the smog is to move factories away from densely populated areas.

In 2009, a new coal mine was commissioned some 600 kilometers from Beijing. The processed coal from the mine is used to produce natural gas… and it now supplies most of the capital’s gas needs.

He Xiaoxia, Director of Dahl Asked Environmental Inst., said, „The natural gas supplied to Beijing is produced in Inner Mongolia. This helps to improve Beijing’s air quality. But it also means the air pollution is worse at the coal production base, in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia.“

Studies also show that the recent dense smog in Beijing was largely generated in nearby cities.

He Xiaoxia said, „In certain weather conditions, pollution in surrounding areas can move to Beijing very easily. It can then hang over the city for several days, because of Beijing’s geography. We need to cut the pollution at its source.“

Experts say China is now going through a harsh stage of air pollution.

On the one hand, more and more people are becoming dependant on private cars, and increasing their use of electricity. On the other hand, effective car emission laws have yet to be properly introduced and enforced.

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