China taking more steps to find solutions for air pollution

World Today

Air pollution remains one of the most urgent issues in China which is why they have pledged to cut the concentrations of tiny airborne pollutants by more than 15 percent in the winter months in 28 northern cities to meet smog targets.

This year, Beijing also promised to use an “iron fist” to deal with air pollution.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman reports.

Smog is sometimes a major issue in the capital, especially in the winter. But steps are being taken to make days like this a thing of the past.

Guo Hao is an inspector with the Beijing Environmental Protection Department. His team conducts surprise inspections, looking for anything that may pollute the air, water or soil.

“This is a facility where Beijing municipal buses are being assembled. Inspectors will examine the entire production process looking for environmental violations.”

They collect evidence with these cameras. If violations are found managers or workers can be charged with crimes.

At the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau samples from 35 monitoring stations are tested each day. Scientists determine daily pollution levels and share the results with the public.

Wang Zhanshan is an environmental engineer at the Bureau. He said government policies have helped reduce emissions.

“We are trying to reduce the use of coal as much as possible by replacing it with clean energy, such as electricity or gas. Big power plants and boilers in 6 districts of Beijing had stopped using coal; all of them are using clean energy now. As for motor vehicles, we suggest electric or clean-energy vehicles. In Beijing, we restrict certain vehicles each day and have a lottery system for purchasing them.”

Wang said Beijing’s air quality has improved over the last 5 years. July’s pollution level was almost 25 percent lower than 2016 levels and the lowest since they began their measurements in 2013.

“I still get a buzz out of my work. We strongly believe that through the efforts from the government and the public, we can make the air quality better and better.”

And China’s commitment to the Paris Climate Accord should lead to long-term carbon emissions reductions in the coming years.