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The State Council Issues Action Plan on Prevention and Control of Air Pollution Introducing Ten Measures to Improve Air Quality
Currently the State Council has issued Action Plan on Prevention and Control of Air Pollution (hereinafter referred to as Action Plan), which serves as the guidance for national efforts to prevent and control air pollution for the present and the near future. 

The CPC Central Committee and the State Council value air pollution control. Since the inauguration of the new term of the government, the central leadership has taken air pollution control as an important measure for improving people’s livelihood, a concrete action for building ecological civilization and an effective tool to upgrade the Chinese economy through maintaining economic growth, adjusting economic structure and facilitating reform. Hence it has made an overall arrangement on it. With in-depth research and repeated review, the government issued the Action Plan. This represents the government is strict with science, truth-seeking, responsible for the people and determined to pursue human-centered administration, improve the environment and safeguard people’s health rights. 

China’s air pollution is a long-standing problem. It is a herculean task to control air pollution. To serve the purpose, we must make persistent and strenuous effort, stay committed to the principle that every one is responsible for air pollution control and the whole society should work together for the fresh air and strive for economic development in the course of environmental protection and environmental protection in the process of economic development in order to achieve environmental, economic and social benefits. 

It is required that government regulation should be combined with market adjustment, making overall advance be combined with solving key problems, regional coordination be conjunct with jurisdictional administration and total pollution reduction should synchronize quality improvement. The Action Plan suggests that a new mechanism for air pollution control led by government, enforced by companies, driven by market and participated in by the public should be formed more quickly and implemented by regions and by different stages in line with the principle of “the polluters pay, more discharges more responsibility, energy conservation and emission reduction gets benefits and compensation”. 

The Plan proposes to improve overall air quality across the nation through five years, reduce heavy pollution by a large margin and make obvious improvement of air quality in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Province, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta. It is noted that in another five years or longer periods, heavy pollution will be gradually eliminated and air quality will be improved markedly. In specific, by 2017, the level of inhalable particulate matter in cities above prefecture level will be dropped by at least 10% against 2012 level and the days with good air quality will be increased year on year. The level of fine particulate matter in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Province, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta will be cut by 25%, 20% and 15% respectively and the annual concentration of fine particulate matter in Beijing will be kept at 60μg /m3. 

To achieve above objectives, the Action Plan defines ten measures. First, enhancing overall treatment and reducing discharges of multiple pollutants. Effort will be made to rectify small coal-firing boilers and accelerate construction of desulphurization, denitration and dust removal projects in key sectors. Flying dust and cooking fume pollution from the catering services will be controlled. Hastened steps will be taken to eliminate yellow label vehicles and old vehicles, promote public transport, new energy vehicles and upgrade the quality of fuel oil. Second, adjusting and optimizing industrial structure and promoting upgrade of economic transition. We will keep a firm grip on newly added production capacity in high energy consumption and high emission industries, accelerate elimination of backward production capacity and resolutely put an end to illegal projects under construction in industries with serious overcapacity. Third, speeding up technological reform of enterprises and improving the capability of scientific innovation. We will boost the development of circular economy, foster the environmental industry and promote innovative development and industrialization of major environmental equipment and products. Fourth, quickening the step to adjust energy structure and increasing the supply of clean energy.      

By 2017, consumption of coal will fall to below 65% in terms of total energy consumption. Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Province, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta will try to achieve negative growth of total coal consumption. Fifth, we will set strict environmental access to investment projects, raise the threshold, optimize industrial pattern and set strict limit to high energy consumption and high pollution projects in ecological fragile areas or sensitive areas. Sixth, giving play to the role of market mechanism and improving environmental economic policy. The central government has set up special funds to implement the policy of reward for subsidy. We will improve policies on pricing and taxation and encourage private funds to participate in air pollution control. Seventh, improving legal system and ensuring strict supervision and management by law. The national department will release the ranking of air quality of key cities regularly and establish mandatory environmental information disclosure system on companies causing heavy pollution. We will improve environmental supervision capability and enhance environmental law enforcement. Eighth, establishing regional coordination mechanism and making overall arrangement for regional environmental treatment. Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Province and the Yangtze River Delta will establish regional coordination mechanism for air pollution control. The State Council will sign target responsibility letters with all provincial governments, conduct annual examination and strictly enforce accountability system. Ninth, we will establish monitoring, early warning and emergency response system, formulate, improve and invoke emergency response plan timely to properly meet the challenge of heavy air pollution. Tenth, we will clarify the responsibilities of all parties and encourage public participation to jointly improve air quality.  

(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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