BEIJING, April 16 About a third of the air
pollution in China's smog-hit capital comes from outside the
city, official media reported on Wednesday, citing a pollution
Chen Tian, chief of the Beijing Environmental Protection
Bureau, said that about 28-36 percent of hazardous airborne
particles known as PM2.5 came from surrounding provinces like
Hebei, home to seven of China's 10 most polluted cities in 2013,
according to official data.
The central government has identified the heavily
industrialised Beijing-Hebei-Tianjin region as one of the main
fronts in its war against pollution, and it is under pressure to
cut coal consumption and industrial capacity.
Decades of unrestrained growth have hit China's environment
hard and Beijing's often choking air has become a symbol of the
Public anger over pollution in different places has sparked
protests and while the government has announced plans to fight
it, authorities often struggle to bring big polluting industries
and growth-obsessed local authorities to heel.
Chen said that of the smog generated in Beijing, 31 percent
came from vehicles, 22.4 percent from coal burning and 18.1
percent from industry, according to China Environmental News, a
publication of the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
Wang Junling, the vice head of the Beijing Environmental
Protection Research Institute, said that while pollution from
outside Beijing was a main component of its smog, the rapid
growth of the city's population, energy use and economic output
were also to blame for worsening air quality.
He told China Environmental News last month that from 1998
to 2012, Beijing's economic output rose 6.5 times and the number
of vehicles rose 2.8 times. Over the same period, the city's
population soared 66 percent while energy consumption rose 90
The city plans to cut coal consumption by 13 million tonnes
by 2017, down from about 23 million tonnes in 2013. Hebei
province used about 280 million tonnes of coal last year and
aims to cut the total by 40 million tonnes over the same period.
Beijing also plans to limit the number of cars on its roads
to 5.6 million this year, with the number allowed to rise to 6
million by 2017. It is also trying to enforce a ban on old
vehicles with lower fuel standards.
The city government said in a report last week it failed to
meet national standards in four of the six major controlled
pollutants in 2013. It said its PM2.5 concentrations stood at a
daily average of 89.5 micrograms per cubic metre, 156 percent
higher than national standards.
In 2013, PM2.5 concentrations in 74 cities monitored by
authorities stood at an average of 72 micrograms per cubic metre
(cu m), more than twice China's recommended national standard of
35 mg/cu m.
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Robert Birsel)