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Air Pollution in Beijing Still Not under Control

Beijing November, 11 Xinhau - The Chinese capital of Beijing, the largest coal-user among the world capitals, does not have air pollution under effective control, said Qu Geping, China's most authoritative environmental expert, here today.

Beijing has suffered from moderate air pollution for five consecutive weeks, according to air-quality reports issued by the China Environmental Monitoring Center.

Qu, chairman of the Environmental and Resources Protection Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress (NPC), told a forum on environmental protection here that Beijing uses about 28 million tons of coal annually, which produces a huge amount of smoke and dust.

The municipal government has taken a series of measures to control smoke pollution, but these measures have not begun to catch up with the rapid increase of coal consumption, Qu said.

Noting that another major pollutant comes from the dust blown up from Beijing's 6,000 construction sites, Qu said that bad management is a major factor contributing to construction-site pollution.

Beijing is now focusing on motor-vehicle exhaust pollution control, Qu said, adding that the number of motor vehicles in the municipality is increasing by 15 percent annually, and has reached over 1.27 million, one third of which are private cars.

Cars are a great convenience for people, and the government cannot prevent them from buying cars, he said.

But the central government has issued a regulation requiring all motor vehicles to use unleaded gasoline by the year 2000.

The Beijing Municipal Government has also required car manufacturers to install exhaust purifiers on cars by the year 2000, and it will prohibit the sale of new cars in Beijing which do not meet exhaust standards.

Because of this serious air pollution, China is resolved to carry out the regulations in spite of possible great economic losses, Qu said.

Many developed countries spent dozens of years on unleaded gasoline projects, and it will be still difficult for China to complete its project in only two or three years, according to Qu Geping.

Saturday 14 Nov 1998
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