Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli (front, 2nd R) visits the construction site of the Xibei Thermoelectric Center in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 3, 2013. The vice premier made an inspection tour Tuesday on air pollution prevention and treatment in the city, which is often subject to smoggy conditions. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)
BEIJING, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese capital Beijing should take the lead and make breakthroughs to prevent and treat air pollution by prioritizing environmental protection, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said on Tuesday.
The vice premier made the remarks during an inspection tour on air pollution prevention and treatment in the city, which is often subject to smoggy conditions.
Coal for winter heating, vehicle control, and dust treatment were listed as the three main tasks in improving the city's environment. Zhang said the capital should cut carbon emissions by opting for high-quality coal, electricity, and natural gas for winter heating.
Zhang said the city should also control the total number of vehicles, eliminate high-polluting cars, promote new energy vehicles, and explore new traffic management methods so as to cut nitrogen oxides emissions.
Meanwhile, efforts should be enhanced in dust treatment and law enforcement to control particles, Zhang said.
During his tour, Zhang inspected heating and power plants and environmental monitoring stations in the city, then presided over a workshop with local officials on air treatment.
Li said that as industrialization and urbanization picks up rapidly, China faces a daunting challenge in air pollution that has grown ever more complicated.
The air quality in Beijing, for instance, has fallen a long way behind people's expectations. "The strengthening of treatment efforts can no longer wait," Zhang said.
Beijing on Monday unveiled a package of measures, including cutting vehicle emissions and curbing industrial pollution, in a bid to improve air quality in the city. The package is part of an action plan by the municipal government, which has pledged to reduce PM 2.5 density by 25 percent or more by 2017.
Local transport authorities also said on Tuesday that they will reduce car registrations from next year in a bid to clean up the city's air and ease traffic congestion, with a new limit on registrations expected to be announced in late November.