Smog fees boost Beijing budget

Updated: 2014-05-07 08:00

By Zheng Xin (China Daily)

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Smog fees boost Beijing budget

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Hiked-up fees on polluting enterprises in Beijing have helped the city to rake in 88 million yuan ($14 million) so far this year, the city's environmental watchdog said.

The bureau collected 8.34 million yuan during the same period last year.

"All of the money collected will be used to improve the city's air quality," said Zhong Chonglei, head of the Beijing Environmental Monitoring Team, during a news conference in the capital on Tuesday.

The Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau raised the fees in January in an attempt to give more force to the agency's fight against pollution and further restore its image as a protector of the environment.

Per-kilogram fees were raised more than tenfold on major pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, chemical oxygen demand and ammonia nitrogen.

Tianjin is also seeking to raise its emission fees on the four major pollutants starting on July 1.

The Tianjin Development and Reform Commission estimates the fee adjustment will bring in 900 million yuan annually, which will be put toward the city's environmental protection efforts.

In an aim to further reduce emissions, Beijing enterprises that discharge 50 percent fewer pollutants than the emission provision will be charged half of the benchmark price, and those that discharge above the quota will face a double fee and extra punishment, the capital's bureau said.

Zhong said the increased emission charge has played a significant role in the restructuring of Beijing's industrial sector.

"Many companies used to ignore the old discharge fee because it was simply too insignificant," he said. "The increased fee has made many companies realize the importance of emission reduction."

Heavy emitters, such as coal-fired power plants and cement plants, contributed more than 18.47 million of the total 88 million yuan emission fee, the bureau said.

To reduce the cost and lower emissions, Beijing's four main coal-fired plants have begun installing purification systems and consumed 2.6 million metric tons of coal during the first quarter of this year, 200,000 tons less than the same period last year.

Zhang Zhanping, deputy head of the capital's monitoring team, said that the agency will also enhance supervision to reduce cases of enterprises failing to report accurate emission numbers or refusing to pay emission fees.