Shanghai ups air pollution war chest while Beijing gasps for relief
As its fellow countrymen in Beijing gasp for clean air in near record pollution levels, Shanghai says it will spend 10.3 billion yuan (USD1.6 billion) on air pollution reduction over the next three years, a 40-percent increase over the amount spent over the last three years combined.
In a statement release today the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Environmental Protection also said the city will begin using the PM2.5 air quality standard in June, a much stricter standard than the PM10 standard currently in place.
Shanghai’s local environmental protection authorities will help coal-fired power plants cut emissions and help coal-fired boilers find clean energy sources, the statement said.
In addition, the city will implement the tighter National 5 vehicle emission standard, equivalent to the Euro 5 emission standard applied to passenger and light vehicles in EU member countries, in 2013 or 2014, it said.
Beijing led other cities nationwide in releasing PM2.5 readings in January following public outcry over the inaccuracy of PM10 readings.
However, with 350 million tonnes of coal burned a year in the area, Beijing is struggling to meet its air quality goals, officials and political advisors say.
The Ministry of Environment is mulling a recent proposal submitted by the Beijing Bureau of Environmental Protection, asking the ministry to set up a special organization to help coordinate Beijing, Hebei and Tianjin to reduce coal-burning by 10 percent by 2015, with a 15-percent cut expected by 2015.
Beijing's annual coal consumption currently stands at 26 million tonnes. Its neighbors Hebei and Tianjin are much more dependent on coal, consuming 280 million and 47 million tonnes a year, respectively.
"Beijing cannot 'do it alone' in the fight for cleaner air. Regional cooperation is indispensable," said Wang Siyue, an atmospheric physicist with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.