Beijing has banned high-emission vehicles in a bid to control recurring air-pollution enveloping the city with a population of 21.7 million people. Starting from tomorrow, light-duty gasoline-powered cars that fail to meet the National Emission Standard III will be banned from entering Beijing’s fifth ring on weekdays.
Substandard cars will also be taken off the road through annual inspections or spot checks. The Chinese capital currently requires new cars to comply with the “Beijing VI” emission standard, which is higher than the widely-used National Emission Standard V and equivalent to the Euro VI standard, the strictest in China. The National Emission Standard I was introduced in 1999 and the National Emission Standard II followed in 2004.
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“After weeding out yellow-labelled cars (outdated and heavy-polluting vehicles), vehicles consistent with the National Emission Standards II and III release most of the pollutants on the roads,” state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Yu Jianhua, chief engineer of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.
Higher-polluting gasoline vehicles account for less than 10 per cent of vehicles on the road, but discharge over 30 per cent of nitrogen oxide and 25 per cent of volatile organic compounds, Yu said.
Beijing’s 5.7 million vehicles produce 500,000 tonnes of various pollutants annually and account for 31 percent of locally-generated PM 2.5, a particulate matter associated with hazardous smog, making it the prime source of PM 2.5, according to the environmental authority. Plagued by smog over the past decade, the capital city has initiated a series of regulations to improve its air quality but the pollution persisted sparking public criticism.
It has moved out high-polluting industries, pulled outdated cars off the road, continued to improve the public transportation system and rolled out policies to support new energy vehicles. Average density of PM 2.5 in the capital was 73 micrograms per cubic meter in 2016, down 9.9 per cent from the previous year, the Beijing Municipal Reform and Development Commission said.
A new round of air pollution hit Beijing and 20 other cities in eastern China due to unfavourable weather conditions. Apart from the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, which is expected to see heavy pollution till tomorrow, air quality in more than 20 cities in provinces such as Shandong and Henan is forecast to deteriorate due to unfavourable weather conditions.
A cold front is expected to help disperse the pollution on February 16. The pollution returns to these cities after a fortnight holiday during which most of the factories have been shutdown now resumed production affecting the air quality.