November 1, 2017 / 1:10 AM / a year ago

China's Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei to set up anti-pollution body: report

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - The smog-prone northern Chinese region of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei will set up a joint environmental protection agency in an effort to coordinate the region’s war on pollution, the official China Securities Journal reported on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: People drive and ride amid the smog in Beijing, China, February 14, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Lee

The new agency, part of wider efforts to improve cross-regional environmental governance, will be in place by the end of the year, the paper said, citing Ministry of Environmental Protection officials.

The region, also known as Jing-Jin-Ji, was home to eight of China’s 10 smoggiest cities in September and is involved in a winter campaign that will slash industrial output and restrict traffic in a bid to meet air quality targets.

Creating unified environmental standards across the region was a key element of a regional economic integration plan launched by President Xi Jinping in 2014.

According to academic studies, around a third of the smog drifting across the capital, Beijing, originates in neighboring Hebei, China’s biggest steel-producing region and also a major producer of cement.

Regulators have already promised to establish a unified system of environmental governance that will create cross-regional emission standards and prevent non-compliant firms in Beijing from shifting operations to neighboring Hebei.

They have also vowed to implement coordinated emergency response plans during heavy smog outbreaks.

Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Paul Tait

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