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MEP holds a symposium on the implementation of the action plan for the integrated air pollution control in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and surrounding areas in the upcoming autumn and winter

On Aug. 31, Minister Li Ganjie presents and speaks at a symposium.

                                                                                                                                                  Photo by Deng Jia, CENEWS

MEP held a symposium on the implementation of the action plan for the integrated air pollution control in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and surrounding areas in the upcoming autumn and winter, and of the six supplementary plans. Minister Li Ganjie presented and spoke at the symposium. He emphasized the importance to raise the political stance, implement the action plan and supplementary plans as soon as possible, and put up a good and tough fight against the air pollution in the upcoming autumn and winter.

Li noted that the air pollution control in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and surrounding areas is one of the major political tasks deployed by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council. The top leaders have made important instructions that the local governments and departments have followed and then made new strides. The mean monthly reading of PM2.5 hit the record low in Beijing from March through August. However, the air pollution remains a daunting challenge in this region. The unlicensed air pollutant emitters and coal-fired boilers have not been completely treated and bulk coals, flying ash, and VOCs still present a prominent problem. We are still under huge pressure to meet the objectives specified in the action plan for controlling air pollution, which is not only an issue of development, but also an issue of people’s livelihood and a social issue. It is imperative to recognize the importance and necessity of the fight against air pollution in the autumn and winter, and realize the balanced economic and social development and ecological conservation of this region.

To this end, we need to identify the objectives, tasks, and safeguard measures and grasp the overall plans, said Li. The portfolio of policy measures includes the aforementioned action plan, the strict inspection plan, the tour inspection plan, the thematic inspection plan, the quantified accountability rules, the information sharing plan, and the awareness-raising plan. The action plan proposes more strict measures to treat both the root causes and symptoms of air pollution, breaks down and allocates the air quality improvement goals to the 28 municipalities in this region, and assigns the specific tasks to the city/district/county levels. The six supplementary plans further specify the safeguard measures by introducing creative inspection mechanisms, strengthening the responsibilities of local Party and government leading officials, and establishing sound information sharing and awareness-raising systems.

It is imperative to introduce creative inspection mechanisms and transmit the pressure of air pollution control to the departments and individuals concerned, according to the six supplementary plans. A five-step approach has been put in place, “the strict inspection” canvasses major air pollution problems and “transfers” them to the local governments for them to be solved and made public within a prescribed period of time. Then over 100 “tour inspection” teams double check the rectifications that have been made, and “arrange talks” with the local governments that have been sluggish in settling the pollution problems. Then 10 or so most problematic cities/districts are to be checked by the “central environmental protection inspection” teams.

Also, it is important to strengthen the quantified assessment and accountability of local governments. The (deputy) county/district governors and Party chiefs and even (vice) mayors and municipal Party chiefs will be held accountable for not rectifying the problems transferred by the strict inspection teams.

The information sharing and awareness-raising activities will be carried out, availing of the public supervision to monitor the rectification progress, disseminating the measures and effects of the actions, and disclosing the local governments’ inactions, the environmental deterioration, and the industry’s illegal pollution activities.

Li stressed that in order to accelerate the implementation of the action plan, we should enhance the organization and leadership, establish cooperation between upper and lower levels, and among different departments and regions; step up management and innovation, and establish long-term mechanisms; provide stronger technical support and improve the pollution control level; and strengthen regional collaboration to tackle heavy air pollution.

Finally, Li emphasized that we should highlight the work priorities of the action plan, make detailed work plans, adopt systematic and integrated policy measures, mobilize our veteran soldiers and brilliant generals, keep a close eye on the local Party committees and governments, qualify the accountability, offer stronger technical supports, increase public supervision, and conduct awareness-raising activities, so as to improve the regional air quality and greet the victorious opening of the 19th National Congress of the CPC.

The meeting was chaired by Vice Minister Zhao Yingmin. The responsible officials with the people’s governments of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong, and Henan spoke at the meeting. The director generals of the environmental protection departments (bureaus) of the above six provinces (municipalities), the heads of the governments and the EPBs of 26 municipalities and 6 counties/county-level cities, the heads of Xiong’an New Area and Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone, as well as the heads of the relevant internal departments, regional offices and affiliated institutions of MEP attended the meeting.

(This English version is for your reference only.In case any discrepancy exists between the Chinese and English context, the Chinese version shall prevail.)

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