Date
21 October 2017
A biker wears a protective mask amid a heavy haze in Beijing. Photo: Reuters
A biker wears a protective mask amid a heavy haze in Beijing. Photo: Reuters

Authorities rush to clear smog in Beijing for APEC summit

Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered the local governments of Beijing and neighboring regions to strictly control carbon emissions and improve the air quality in time for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in the capital in early November, Apple Daily reported on Monday.

Heavy smog has returned to northern China in the autumn, raising health concerns and the possibility that it may prove to be a huge embarrassment for the host of the high-profile event. Environmental protection authorities have forecasted “heavily polluted weather” in Beijing from Nov. 5 to 11, the seven-day period covering the meeting.

Authorities in Beijing, Tianjin, Shanxi, Hebei, Inner Mongolia and Shandong have established a coordination team to lead the clean air campaign, according to Chinanews.com.

Beijing will impose an odd-even license plate vehicle restriction and suspend the operation of 70 percent of the public buses during the period. It has also declared a non-working holiday for all employees in the public sector from Nov. 7 to 12.

The APEC economic leaders’ meeting will be held on Nov. 10-11.

All coal-fired boilers in Beijing will also suspend operation, while 141 firms identified as major sources of air pollution in neighboring areas will limit or temporarily stop production.

The Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Science said all the measures drawn up for the event could reduce air pollution by 30 to 40 percent.

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MY/JP/CG

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