Hebei to ban heavily polluting fuel in cities

Updated: 2016-01-13 19:57


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SHIJIAZHUANG, Hebei - New facilities which use heavily polluting fuel will be banned in most urban areas and coal use will be further cut in North China's Hebei province, according to a new law adopted by the provincial legislature on Wednesday.

Large cities will have no less than 80 percent of their township areas ban construction of new projects that use highly polluting fuel, such as heavy oil and raw coal, the new provincial air pollution treatment and prevention rule said.

Counties will also mark banned areas according to their own conditions. Operating facilities using such fuel should be upgraded to use clean energy or be equipped with advanced pollutant control devices.

With its pillar industries such as iron and steel, cement and glass,Hebei boasts more than half of the country's 10 most polluted cities. The average PM2.5 density of Hebei fell 18.9 percent in 2015 from 2014, but the level remained 1.2 times higher than the national standard.

Coal accounts for more than 85 percent of the total energy in Hebei, or nearly 20 percentage points higher than the national average.

Hebei's new law is a revision to its air pollution law adopted in 1996. The amendment was in line with the country's new law on air pollution control which took effect on Jan.1, dealing tougher punishments to industries and seeking to curb air pollution at its root.

The provincial air pollution rule also urges promotion of clean coal and the use of solar power, gas and electricity to reduce emissions from bulk coal in rural areas.

Tier fees for pollutants, differentiated loans and water prices and punitive power prices will be imposed on industries with excessive capacity or heavy air pollution, according to the 30-page law with 93 items.

It also requires the gradual expansion of areas banning the lighting of fireworks in cities.

Environmental officials will be punished for poor response to serious air pollution or other forms of negligence, it said. Leading government officials at county-level or above should resign if the local environment suffers grave damage under their rule.

Hebei, which neighbors Beijing, aims to cut PM2.5 density by 6 percent or more year on year and reduce coal use by 5 million tonnes in 2016.