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China removes 1 mn ‘high polluting’ cars off roads
December 9, 2015, 11:04 am

China has a serious pollution and poor air quality problem which authorities acknowledged will be one of the biggest challenges in the new five-year plan [Xinhua]

China has a serious pollution and poor air quality problem which authorities acknowledged will be one of the biggest challenges in the new five-year plan [Xinhua]


Just two days after the Chinese capital Beijing took the unprecedented step of raising the air pollution alert code from orange to the highest on the scale, red, officials announced Wednesday that they had banned one million vehicles deemed dangerous to the environment.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection said that it had removed these vehicles – registered before 2005 and which emitted excessive pollutants – from the roads in the first 10 months of 2015.

The ministry said this was part of their annual campaign to minimize vehicle exhaust and reduce the amount of smog which has degraded air quality in China’s major cities.

On Monday, Beijing and broad swaths of its northern provinces were blanketed in a dense smog that is not expected dissipate until later this week.

Beijing’s concentration of PM 2.5 particles – those small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream – is alarming.

PM 2.5 are airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter which can pose health risks.

In recent years, PM 2.5 readings in the capital averaged nine times the safe level defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

According to the city’s emergency management officials, during a red alert, schools are advised to suspend classes, outdoor operations of construction sites are banned and some industrial plants are required to limit or stop production.

The ministry on Wednesday said it had met 85 per cent of its target for 2015, but cited Beijing as having failed to meet its threshold.

Vehicle owners who relinquish their banned vehicles receive subsidies toward the purchase of a newer, more environment friendly car.

Chinese authorities have been facing increased pressure to find means to solve the country’s growing pollution problems.

A recent report from the National People’s Congress Environment and Resources Protection Committee warns that if China continues to push its industrialisation and urbanisation drive at its current pace without checks and balances, environmental pollution and ecological degradation may worsen.

China now aims to reduce total vehicle fuel consumption by five per cent or more compared to 2012 and has dedicated nearly billions of dollars to combat perennial pollution.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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