New technology, including drones, aid in efforts against pollution

China 24

Blue skies in Beijing have been sparse in the last few weeks with record smog levels causing school closures and bringing the city to a standstill. But the battle against pollution is being stepped up – much of the pollution in the capital city comes from neighboring Hebei province.

CGTN’s Nathan King reports as part of our series: What is China?

New technology, including drones, aid in efforts against pollution

New technology, including drones, aid in efforts against pollution

Blue skies in Beijing have been sparse in the last few weeks with record smog levels causing school closures and bringing the city to a standstill. But the battle against pollution is being stepped up - much of the pollution in the capital city comes from neighboring Hebei province.
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The newest weapon in the war against pollution is controlled by environmental activist Zhao Liang.

From a small patch of ground just across from a vast steel factory in Handan, in Hebei province, Zhao’s drone mission begins, determining if a factory is complying with regulations on emissions and waste storage.

Zhao is able to detect emissions coming out of cooling towers, but said some of the procedures aren’t being followed and require further investigation.

After ten minutes, the mission is over and Zhao can share his findings

“I found two major problems today. First, the factory has large amount of emissions. I saw two of the chimneys did not have good dust-removal systems. Second, the waste is not properly covered. It’ll float into the air when the wind blows,” Zhao said.

Zhao will report his findings to the central government, which often asks him to visit factories along with their inspectors and suggest improvements.

Just a few kilometers away, Wang Wenan shows his plant, Wenan Iron and Steel. As the chief executive, Wang prides himself on its efficiency, productivity and increasingly high environmental standards.

Millions have been spent to remove tiny dust particles from the emissions

“This is the fifth generation dust-removal system in our factory since the 1980s. We just upgraded it this year. It cost us over 20 million yuan ($2.9 million) After the dust removal process, our products will meet national standards. In some way the Chinese standards are even stricter than in U.S. or Europe,” Wang said.

But Wang has other challenges too – high pollution levels across Hebei province mean 20 percent of this plant has been ordered to shut down until March. Another 20 percent has been ordered shut permanently due to overcapacity in China’s steel industry.

“I feel the closure is a pity as a businessman, but this is the current situation in the industry, and you have to deal with the huge pressure in environmental protection,” Wang said.