China is set to cut its coal consumption in 2017 by another 30 per cent as part of recent efforts to combat air pollution in its smog-hit capital Beijing and other regions.
China promised to implement an extraordinary measure to tackle the choking smog in its cities occasioned by traffic congestion and heavy use of coal.
“We will try to basically realize zero coal use in six major districts and in Beijing’s southern plain areas this year,” major Cai Qi was quoted as saying.
He added that small coal-fired boilers would be completely eliminated in Beijing.
He added that the 30 per cent cut would bring total consumption of coal in Beijing to about 7 million tonnes.
Beijing originally aimed to bring coal consumption to below 10 million tonnes this year, down from around 22 million tonnes in 2013, and has already shut major coal-fired power stations.
It has made up the supply shortfall by importing power from neighboring provinces via the grid, raising fears that the capital is exporting its pollution to surrounding regions.
Cai said Beijing would also take 300,000 obsolete vehicles off the roads this year to help to raise fuel standards and promote new energy cars.
Heavy traffic is responsible for about a third of Beijing’s total emissions of harmful breathable particles known as PM2.5, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
China’s cities need to reduce PM2.5 to an annual average of 35 micrograms in order to meet state standards.
Average concentrations of PM2.5 in Beijing stood at 73 micrograms per cubic meter in 2016, down 9.9 percent on the previous year.