China curbs capital's coal consumption to combat smog

BEIJING Thu May 22, 2014 7:50am EDT

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BEIJING May 22 (Reuters) - China will shut down Beijing's coal-fired power plants and limit coal for boilers and industrial use this year to combat the capital's air pollution, state media reported on Thursday.

The measures aim to cut the amount of coal used this year by 2.6 million tons, and instead adopt clean energy and gas as a less pollutant alternative, the official Xinhua news agency said.

China has vowed to reverse the damage done to its environment by decades of untrammelled economic growth, and has identified the regions of Beijing, Hebei and Tianjin as key targets of a programme to curb big industries like steel, thermal power and cement, all major sources of smog.

On Monday, Xinhua reported that the industrial city of Tianjin in northern China would adopt a range of measures on days of heavy smog, including limiting the number of vehicles allowed on roads.

Economic growth has long topped China's political agenda. But public anger over pollution has sparked protests and the government has now vowed to impose its will and make cleaning up the environment a priority. Even so, authorities often struggle to bring big polluting industries and growth-obsessed local authorities to heel. (Reporting by Paul Carsten; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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