BEIJING, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- The pressures of severe air pollution have prompted China's environmental watchdog to consider pushing forward a legal ban on barbecues in densely populated urban areas.
Barbecues should be strictly controlled in cities to cut emissions of pollutants, according to a draft technical guideline issued earlier this month by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) to solicit public opinions.
The draft especially advises major cities to adopt legislation banning barbecue-related activities.
On Wednesday, an anonymous official with the MEP said the guideline is designed to provide a package solution to the country's PM2.5 air pollution problem.
PM2.5 refers to fine particulate matter that is 2.5 microns or less in diameter, which can embed deeply in people's lungs.
The official called on the public to abstain from barbecues in cities and adopt a more environmentally-friendly way of life through various means, including reducing energy consumption in the cooking process, using food preparation techniques that produce less smoke and less pollution and setting off fewer firecrackers.
A Sunday report from the MEP attributed the higher-than-normal PM2.5 readings during the Spring Festival holiday to the use of firecrackers, which people set off as a traditional way of celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year.
The draft also specifies response measures in industrial, agricultural and other sectors to reduce pollution, including better oil quality for cars and more efficient uses of energy.
It also proposes "significantly reducing" PM2.5 by 2020.
Once adopted, the guideline would serve as a suggestion and reference, according to the draft.