September 28, 2017 / 8:05 AM / 2 years ago

China's Shandong tightens screw on smog-prone cities

FILE PHOTO: A cyclist rides along a street in heavy smog during a polluted day in Liaocheng, Shandong province, December 20, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s eastern Shandong province said on Thursday that it would tighten air control measures on 17 cities before the official winter heating season gets under way on Nov. 15.

Providing more details on previously flagged winter output restriction plans, the Shandong provincial government said the seven key industrial cities of Jinan, Zibo, Jining, Dezhou, Liaocheng, Binzhou and Heze would be clamping down on scattered, small-scale polluting enterprises from Oct. 1.

Another 10 Shandong cities and counties, including Tai’an and Rizhao, would do the same from Nov. 1, according to the document posted on the government’s website.

The seven cities facing restrictions from Oct. 1 are in the list of 28 northern Chinese cities the Ministry of Environmental Protection has ordered should face special restrictions on industrial output this winter.

They will have to close 1.83 million tonnes of steelmaking capacity and 1.57 gigawatts of coal-fired power capacity before Nov. 15, according to the document.

Among other measures, coke production furnaces in the seven cities will be required to extend their production period to 36 hours from for a full six months, from Oct. 1 to Mar. 31, and beyond 48 hours in built-up areas, the document said. The longer coking time means less dust will be produced during the process.

Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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