China will implement stricter control of air pollution and carbon emissions during this winter heating period (Oct 1-Mar 31) on a larger cluster of cities than a year ago, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment said in a draft plan on September 16.
The plan is in tandem with the ongoing movement of tackling high-energy consumption and high-emission projects all over the country that is aimed at cutting energy consumption.
According to the plan, cities in northern Hebei, northern Shanxi, eastern and southern Shandong and southern Henan will be firstly incorporated in the anti-air pollution campaign this year, with the total number growing into 60, compared with 39 cities a year ago and 28 cities when the campaign was firstly initiated in 2017.
These cities are asked to step up efforts on management of high-energy consumption and high-emission projects and tighten the approval of new projects of this kind in coal chemical, coking, iron and steel, building materials, non-ferrous, coal power industries.
The MEE said off-season cutback on steel production will continue this year. A-tier steelmakers in the environmental estimation should make sure their crude steel production should not surpass the year-ago level during the period, but other less-environmentally-estimated plants need to scale back production based on their own environmental levels.
The MEE will continue to push for the reduction of burning coal for heating purpose this year. In doing so, the government asked accelerating "coal-to-gas" switch in rural areas and required gas suppliers to advance their winter storage. Gas prices will not increase for rural households this year.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Tammy Yang)
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