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Chinese capital Beijing will ban high-emission vehicles during severe smog from next month and bar them completely on all week days from next year to bring down auto exhaust emissions which constitutes over 31 per cent of the city’s air pollution. According to the city’s newly revised extreme weather emergency response mechanism, to become effective December 15, these high-emission vehicles will be restricted from roads when the city issues red or orange smog alerts – the city’s two most serious weather alerts.
The restriction will become even tougher from February 15 of next year, when the city’s 4.56 lakh vehicles meeting Euro 1 and 2 standards will be banned on all working days within the city’s fifth ring road, which forms a loop, about 10 kilometre from the city centre, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Despite the government pronouncements of cracking down on polluting industries and automobiles, Beijing continues to be hit by heavily polluted smog specially during the winter.
Automobile emissions contribute 31.1 per cent of Beijing’s average PM2.5 density. With a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres, the particulate matter has been a primary factor behind hazardous smog.
Auto exhaust emissions consisting of nitrogen oxides and organic pollutants can help produce the particular matter, said Li Kunsheng, an emission control official with the Beijing bureau of environmental protection.
He said the tougher restriction is among a series of measures to reduce high-emission vehicles in the city. Beijing has 5.7 million vehicles on its roads, discharging five lakh tonnes of air pollutants a year.
The number of vehicles meeting Euro 1 and 2 standards for exhaust emissions makes up only 8 per cent of the total, but they discharge 30 per cent of air pollutants caused by emissions. China’s National Emission Standards comply with the European standards for emission limits.
Standard I, which is equivalent to the Euro 1 standard, allows an average petrol sedan to emit a maximum of 2.7 grams of carbon monoxide a kilometer.
Beijing became the first Chinese city to enforce the Standard IV or Euro 4 emission limits on all newly purchased and produced cars in 2008.
Already the Chinese capital has restricted the purchase of new vehicles to control traffic and vehicular emissions.
Currently Beijing allows the purchase of about 20,000 vehicles a month through a complex lottery system in which the buyers should first get a license plate before buying a car.