Beijing to spend billions to tackle air pollution

Beijing, Jan 14 (IANS) Beijing will spend more than 18 billion yuan ($2 billion) to fight air pollution in 2017, officials said on Saturday.

Beijing aims to control the annual average density of PM 2.5 to around 60 micrograms this year, said Lu Yan, head of the Beijing Municipal Reform and Development Commission.

PM 2.5 are fine particles measuring no more than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, Xinhua news agency reported.

Average density of PM 2.5 in the Chinese capital was 73 micrograms per cubic meter in 2016, down 9.9 percent from the previous year, Lu said. In 2015, the density was 81 micrograms per cubic meter.

Beijing reduced coal use by two million tonnes last year, he added.

In 2017, 700 villages will switch from coal to clean energy. Total coal use will be cut by 30 percent to seven million tonnes and 300,000 outdated vehicles will be phased out, according to the Beijing municipal government work report, submitted to the on-going meetings of local legislature and political advisory body.

Cai Qi, deputy Party chief and acting mayor of Beijing, said Beijing will take tougher measures to improve the city’s air quality in 2017.

Beijing will reward buildings and districts that use environmentally friendly technologies, according to Li Yingjin, head of the Beijing’s finance bureau.