Sep 13, 2013

    China to clean up air within a decade

    CHINA said it will reduce coal consumption, close steel plants and control the number of cars on its roads in an effort to "gradually eliminate" heavily polluted days in as little as a decade.

    Air pollution "harms the people's health and under- mines social harmony and stability," the State Council, China's Cabinet, said in an outline of the plan posted on the central government's website yesterday.

    Ensuring clean air concerns the sustainability of economic growth and the ability to fulfil the "dream of the great renaissance of the Chinese nation".

    The State Council's plan fleshes out Premier Li Keqiang's pledge in March to clean up the nation's air, which he said gave him a "heavy heart".

    Pollution has become the top cause of social unrest in China, Mr Chen Jiping, a former leading member of the Communist Party's Commit- tee of Political and Legislative Affairs, said that same month.

    In January, PM2.5 readings in Beijing surged to a record 993 micrograms per cu m.

    The World Health Organization recommends day-long exposure of no higher than 25. The average concentration of PM2.5 particles in 74 cities monitored by China's Ministry of Environmental Protection was 76 micrograms.

    Beijing, Shanghai, Guang- zhou and other large Chinese cities should also "strictly" restrict the number of vehicles to curb pollution, according to the plan.