On Nov. 21, MEP held an on-the-spot meeting in Langfang Municipality of Hebei Province to wrap up the stage-based achievements in rectification of random polluters and integrated air pollution control in the autumn and winter. Minister Li Ganjie presented and delivered remarks at the meeting. He stressed the importance to thoroughly study and act on the guiding principles of the 19th National Congress of the CPC, fight an uphill battle against air pollution, and lay a solid groundwork for defending the blue skies.
In the beginning, a video displaying Langfang’s efforts in straightening out random polluters was played. Then, Langfang and Jining Municipality of Shandong shared experience, and Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong, and Henan reported work progress.
In response, Li said the report to the 19th National Congress summed up the achievements in building an ecological civilization and protecting the ecological environment, and made plans for the future major tasks. A raft of new reforms, concepts, requirements, objectives, and plans are put forward. We must gain a thorough understanding of those and turn the blueprints drawn by the Congress into road maps. We will take the defense of blue skies as an integral part of promoting green development and meeting the demand of the people for a beautiful environment. We will implement the tasks and measures effectively, and strive to achieve the 2017 stage-based objectives for air quality improvement.
Over the passing year, the local areas and departments have implemented the guidelines of the meetings of the air pollution control teams and accomplished many things that were wanted but never got done.
First, we have accelerated the industrial, energy, and transport restructuring. The 62,000 plus random polluters and clusters in “2+26” cities have been classified and straightened out. More than 3 mil. households have alternated from coals to electricity and gas as energy source, as a result of which over 10 mil. t coals have been replaced. A total of 44,000 small coal-fired boilers and over 100,000 small coal stoves have been eliminated.
Second, we have halted the operation of iron and steel, building materials, and other key sectors as of Nov. 15 and throughout the heat supply season. Also, we’ve made specific plans for each of the transport service suppliers to halt the services and choose vehicles with better pollution control performance to carry bulk goods.
Third, we’ve taken the initiative and effectively responded to heavy air pollution. We’ve had the emergency preparedness plans for heavy air pollution amended, put all air polluters in the list that are required to take reduction measures in emergencies, and set more strict standards for activating early warnings.
As a result, although the mean PM2.5 reading escalated 23.5 percent from January to February, the figure went down 9.8 percent between March and Nov. 15, compared with the same periods of last year. The PM2.5 reading has been under 60 µg/m3 for seven consecutive months, hitting the record low.
The integrated management of random polluters is one of the key tasks for air pollution control, so we should gather and replicate the following practices and experience of the “2+26” cities.
First, the random polluters of an administrative region are canvassed and inventoried.
Second, the polluters are classified and different approaches are taken to address their problems, by treating both the symptoms and root causes. The random polluters are ordered to halt operation before being treated by one of the three approaches: shutting down, reshuffle and relocation, and rectification.
Third, supportive measures are combined with the rectifications. Researches are conducted on the “money”, “reemployment”, and “direction” issues, help the companies to break the financial bottleneck, make early plans for staff reemployment, and offer strategic and technological guidance to the companies ready to relocate or transform to other line of business.
Fourth, mechanisms are established to prevent the resurgence of random pollution. The Party and government are required to take equal responsibilities for straightening out random polluters and the “one position with dual responsibilities” system is implemented at all levels. Same weight is given to inspecting the governments and industries. Also, environmental management is being transformed in a way that promotes green development.The interdepartmental collaboration is integrated and management resources are mobilized. Moreover, manpower works with modern information technology and science to enhance the management capacity.
Fifth, the TV, Internet, newspapers and periodicals are employed to guide public opinions, expose problems, and earn the understanding and support of the people. In general, under the guidance of the new development concepts, the integrated management of random polluters has met the goals of protecting the environment, developing the economy, and improving the people’s wellbeing. It has helped improve the ambient air quality by solving the prominent environmental problems in the living environment, advanced the supply-side structural reform, promotes the industrial upgrading, and created a fair and equitable environment to advance fair trade and market competition.
Li noted that the air pollution control still faces a daunting situation. With the unfavorable meteorological conditions, the PM2.5 level escalated in some cities. We are still under great pressure to meet the objective of rendering the mean annual PM2.5 level in Beijing to reach 60 µg/m3. However, to this end, we should take the following steps to win the uphill battle against air pollution in the autumn and winter.
First, we will strengthen the organization and leadership. The Party committees and governments at all levels should balance the routine air pollution control work and pollution reduction in emergencies and give equal weight to control of local and regional air pollution. We will augment the manpower and material supports to perform key tasks and address weak points.
Second, we will introduce a rigorous supervision and inspection system and make sure the control measures contribute to pollution reduction. We will curb the fugitive emission on construction sites and continue to resort to region-wide collaboration to activate early warnings and implement emergency reduction measures. We will establish the particulate matter component network. The heavy air pollution project teams will analyze each and every heavy air pollution event and put forward response measures.
Third, we will not backslide from the staged-based achievements in the integrated management of random polluters and clusters. We will continue to canvass the random polluters and leave no one untreated, straighten out the polluters by comparing them against role models for environmental performance. We will establish long-term mechanism, improve the pollution permitting and accountability systems, and exercise strict environmental access control to avoid pollution migration.
Fourth, we will tighten the accountability of government. The accountability will be quantifiable, effective, and institutionalized. The Party and government will be equally responsible for pollution control.
Fifth, we will work harder at environmental awareness activities and communications. The control of air pollution will be impossible without the public understanding, support, and participation. We should do a good job at raising the people’s environmental awareness and properly guiding the public opinions, and release heavy air pollution information in a timely fashion.
Before the meeting, Li Ganjie went to Wen’an County in Langfang to check the coal-fired small boilers that have been dismantled, Dadi Timber Company and timber research center, and a “coal for gas” project in Nanzhuang Village. He also inspected the capacity building and air quality monitoring sites at community level. Li gave full recognition to the social, economic, and environmental benefits harvested by Wen’an County through rectifying random polluters and hoped they create a sound work and living environment for the local people.
Vice Minister Zhai Qing presided over the meeting and also took the inspection tour.
The persons in charge of integrated management of random polluters and air pollution control in the people’s governments of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong, and Henan presented at the meeting. The heads and officials of the EPDs (EPBs) of the six provinces (municipalities); of the municipal governments and the EPBs of the 26 cities on the air pollution transmission passage and six county level governments and EPBs (including Xinji) in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and surrounding areas; of the administration committees of Xiong’an New Area and Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone; of relevant internal departments, regional offices, and affiliated institutions of the Ministry, and the team leaders of the heavy air pollution control project 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.)