Pollution control set as priority for APEC meeting

Updated: 2014-08-15 08:12

By Zheng Jinran(China Daily)

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Pollution control set as priority for APEC meeting

The turret of the Forbbiden City under the clear sky in Beijing. [Photo/IC]
Beijing will take tough steps to control air pollution during the APEC senior officials' meeting in the city by launching stricter emergency actions than called for if a pollution warning is issued.

China is hosting the Third Senior Officials' Meeting and related meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Beijing from Aug 6 to 21, when there will be about 100 sessions covering topics including trade, investment, agriculture, food and anti-corruption.

The senior officials' meeting will involve a large number of participants and a more intensive schedule than the two previous meetings, which were held in Ningbo of Zhejiang province and Qingdao of Shandong province.

The city will launch tougher, comprehensive measures to control air pollution effectively for the events, said Yao Hui, deputy director of the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, adding that updates on air quality will be issued and sent to the public quickly if air quality worsens.

When at any point during the conference the air quality index is estimated at higher than 200 for the next three days, the municipal government will issue an orange alert, which is the second-highest level in the four-level warning system.

In such an event, Beijing will take tougher measures than called for under an orange alert. It will put into effect the steps called for under a red alert, the highest level, including forbidding the use of 70 percent of government vehicles and restricting the use of private vehicles based on even- and odd-numbered license plates.

All vehicles with plates belonging to other cities and provinces will be banned all day long from driving inside the Sixth Ring Road if an orange alert is issued during the conference.

Additionally, all construction sites would be required to stop demolition and other procedures that might generate dust, as required by the Beijing Commission of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, said Wang Chengjun, deputy director of the commission.

Also, if an orange alert is issued, the traffic authority will cooperate with government departments to guarantee that vehicles follow the emergency restrictions.

"The comprehensive efforts for the meeting can be an opportunity for different government departments to exercise joint work in air pollution control for the APEC meeting in November, too, and also in the future," said Yao, the deputy director of the Environmental Protection Bureau.

It is estimated that during the period there will be no extreme weather, while winds and rainfall might be slight and temperatures high, so there will be the possibility of severe air pollution in the city.

However, it's not easy to release a red alert. In the past week, the capital has witnessed mild air pollution, though in the first six months of the year in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region the days with good air quality increased to 36.4 percent, according the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

Beijing has issued no red alerts on air pollution since November, when the emergency plan was put into effect, even though smog covered the city for days at a time.

Contact the writer at zhengjinran@chinadaily.com.cn