China targets cement, batteries, metals in anti-pollution push

BEIJING Fri Dec 27, 2013 8:42am EST

The sun is seen behind smoke billowing from a chimney of a heating plant in Taiyuan, Shanxi province December 9, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

The sun is seen behind smoke billowing from a chimney of a heating plant in Taiyuan, Shanxi province December 9, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China will raise standards for the production of cement, batteries, leather and heavy metals as part of its efforts to cut air, water and soil pollution, the environment ministry said on Friday.

Beijing, facing growing public anger over smog, contaminated food and unclean water, has said it will tackle the environmental costs of more than three decades of unbridled growth.

It has promised to get tough with under-regulated industries such as cement, iron and steel and coal but the central government has traditionally struggled to impose its will on powerful industrial sectors and local governments.

According to a notice issued by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (www.mep.gov.cn), China produced 2.21 billion tons of cement in 2012, 56 percent of the global total. Beijing aims to close around 370 million tons of outdated capacity by 2015.

The notice said the sector alone is responsible for 15-20 percent of China's total particulate matter (PM) emissions, a major cause of hazardous smog, as well as 8-10 percent of nitrogen oxide and 3-4 percent of sulphur dioxide, components of acid rain.

The revised guidelines will force producers to install advanced anti-pollution technologies to meet the new standards, including the control of at least 60 percent of nitrogen dioxide emissions.

China is also the world's biggest producer and exporter of batteries, including solar cells, and the new measures will seek to impose better standards and higher barriers to entry for the sector, a major source of heavy metal pollution in the country's soil and water.

Beijing's new leadership has sought to place less emphasis on economic growth and more on creating what it describes as "the beautiful China".

But it said earlier this week that it was struggling to meet a number of key environmental targets for the 2011-2015 period as a result of faster-than-expected economic expansion.

(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Anthony Barker)

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Comments (3)
Ci_Devant wrote:
Now we’ll get to see how officials from a highly centralized government can handle lots of special interests…Not much will happen unless the very top decrees that environmental standards are enforceable. Even then…

Dec 27, 2013 3:39pm EST  --  Report as abuse
MikeBarnett wrote:
In late 2011, at the Durban Climate Change Conference, China presented a 22 point, $1.7 trillion, 5 year ($340 billion per year) plan to address pollution in China. The first serious results should be seen by mid-2014 and should continue to late 2016 when a second five year pollution plan will be presented. Chinese leaders have always said that they would address pollution when China’s economic situation allowed them to tackle the issue without endangering the economic stability of their people. However, over 30 years of unbridled economic development cannot be cleaned in 10 years and may need continuous plans to deal with mistakes and with those who choose to break laws in their desire for profits.

In addition, President Xi Jinping has a degree in chemical engineering, so China elected a leader with the practical knowledge to implement and oversee the major program of his presidency. China’s leaders have degrees in science, engineering, technology, economics, and business and are different from the lawyers, preachers, and propagandists in the US. This is another reason that China advances faster than the US at this time. Improvements in China’s environment will take longer than its economic advancement, and it will require constant monitoring.

Dec 28, 2013 3:54pm EST  --  Report as abuse
redbob wrote:
Looks like the end for all those industries that left the US to avoid the EPA

Dec 29, 2013 12:30pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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