Hebei gets tough on industrial pollution

North China’s Hebei Province said yesterday that it will cut pollutant discharge from its heavy industries by 30 percent to ensure good air quality for the military parade in Beijing on September 3.

Hebei, which surrounds the capital and is home to many of the country’s large steel mills and other pollution-spewing heavy industries such as cement and glass, promised a spate of tough measures to curb pollution for a week from this Friday.

The measures, including slashing coal burning, industrial discharges and car emissions, will help clear Beijing’s sky for the World War II victory ceremonies.

Chen Guoying, head of the environmental protection department in Hebei, said the province will implement the highest-level anti-pollution response. Plants that fail to meet standards by Friday will be shut.

China has taken extraordinary steps in the past to ensure good air quality in Beijing for special events, including the summer Olympic Games in 2008 and the APEC summit last year.

Meanwhile, Beijing is set to ramp up its expulsion of industries from the center of the city, leaving only premium and high-tech sectors amid a regional integration scheme to place more rudimentary industries outside the Chinese capital.

An updated catalogue of industries either restricted or banned from the capital released yesterday suggests nearly 80 percent of business sectors will be cleared from downtown Beijing, where quality of life has been compromised by pollution, traffic congestion and dwindling resources.

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