Air Clean Up

  • China Steps Up Pollution Battle in 'Steel City' Tangshan

China Steps Up Pollution Battle in 'Steel City' Tangshan

Oct 17 2019 Read 648 Times

Chinese authorities have announced a raft of new measures aimed at preventing air pollution and punishing those who are guilty of causing it in the northern city of Tangshan. Famous for its production of steel, Tangshan is one of those metropoles which has been identified as key to boosting China’s environmental profile and has already closed down dozens of steel foundries.

However, the data collected by Chinese officials has suggested that it will struggle to hit the ambitious targets outlined for 2019-20. As a result, authorities have published a set of stringent new guidelines aimed at forcing firms to install sophisticated new air quality monitoring technology, preventing them from tampering with, falsifying or removing the data produced and punishing those guilty of transgressing the rules with hefty fines or jailtime.

A northern powerhouse

Home to some 7.5 million people, Tangshan is located approximately 112 miles (180km) east of Beijing. It’s the largest steel-producing city in all of China and indeed produces more tonnes of steel per annum than the entirety of the United States. As such, it’s no surprise that Tangshan comprises one of the chief targets of the Chinese government's "war on pollution", which was first launched in 2013.

As a result, many foundries have been closed down altogether in recent months and years, with local authorities also attempting to phase out coal as an energy source. However, the latest air quality data reveals that the city is some way off track in meeting its current pollution targets, which has prompted the government to tighten the legislation surrounding it.

Pollution prevention top of the agenda

The tough new measures will come into effect from November 1st 2019 and will require all companies involved in industrial activities to have up-to-date emissions monitoring technology installed onsite. Failure to do so risks incurring sizable fines, closure of facilities and even the arrest of individuals implicated in avoiding their duties.

Waste disposal methods are also being targeted, with those found guilty of burning agricultural waste, rubbish, plastic or rubber in public susceptible to the same punishments. The rule applies to street food vendors operating without a license for the use of unauthorised barbecues and other cooking equipment which does not meet air quality standards.

Comprehensive guidelines

It’s not just those working in an industrial capacity who will have to clean up their acts, either. Private vehicle owners whose cars do not meet the most recent fuel efficiency standards are liable to receive fines up of to 10,000 yuan (£1,135) for wrongdoing, as is anyone suspected of tampering with the emissions data recorded by their vehicle.

Meanwhile, those in power are being policed, as well. Any government official who is deemed to have fallen short of implementing the new laws or having abused their power to circumvent them will lose their job immediately, as well as potentially face prosecution and jailtime. The measures show once again that China is in fact serious about cleaning up its environmental act, once and for all.

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