Beijing reacts to mounting public discord over pollution

February 27, 2012

Faced with growing public discontent over pollution in the air, water and streets, Beijing City will implement new controls that will affect car owners, government offices and any organization that produces food waste.

In a series of announcements last Friday, authorities said that they would usher in stricter vehicle emission regulations, establish of a recycling system covering all central government offices and introduce new charges for the disposal of kitchen waste and other refuse from non-residential buildings.

On the vehicle front, Beijing will lead other provinces in implementing the tighter National 5 vehicle emission standard, equivalent to the Euro 5 emission standard applied to passenger and light vehicles in EU member countries by the end of this year.

 All cars sold in Beijing will be required to meet the new standard, the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform (BMCDR) said in a statement. The commission did not give an exact timetable for the enforcement of the regulation, although cars that have already been sold will not be required to comply with the regulation.

Automobile emissions account for more than one-fifth of the city's PM2.5 particles as the number of registered vehicles in the city exceeded 5 million this month, which equates to one in car for every four Beijing residents

To tackle the growing garbage problem in the city, the Beijing City government will from this Thursday start charging non-residential buildings, including companies, office buildings, restaurants and universities, 25 yuan (USD4) for each tonne of kitchen waste and 90 yuan a tonne for other kinds of garbage.

The new rule, which is expected to affect restaurants most heavily, is aimed at encouraging people to sort their refuse and pave the way for more efficient garbage treatment, officials and experts said.

Fees will rise in subsequent years. In 2014, kitchen waste disposal will cost 90 yuan a tonne, with other kinds of garbage costing twice as much. At present, these buildings pay only 25 yuan a tonne for any type of garbage.

Meanwhile, the Government Offices Administration (GOA) of the State Council, or China's Cabinet, also on Friday kicked off a new recycling initiative which pushes government offices to take the lead in the country's overall waste sorting and recycling efforts, by recycling as much as 80 percent of their recyclable waste this year.

According to an agreement signed at the event between China Recycling Development Corporation Ltd. and a department under the GOA, both parties will work with central government offices to build a network for sorting and recycling waste paper, plastic, hazardous waste and discarded electronic devices.