Posts tagged ‘Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People’s Republic of China’

22/03/2015

Chinese capital shuts third coal-fired plant in war on smog | Reuters

China’s smog-hit capital Beijing has shut down the third of its four coal-fired power plants as part of its campaign to cut pollution, with the final one scheduled to close next year, the official Xinhua news agency said on Friday.

A security personnel walks near Tiananmen Gate on a heavily hazy day in Beijing October 24, 2014.  REUTERS/Jason Lee

In 2013, the city promised in its clean air action plan to bring annual coal consumption down to less than 10 million tonnes by 2017, a reduction of 13 million tonnes in just four years.

It said it would shut down all four of its coal-fired power plants within four years, a move that would cut annual coal consumption by around 9 million tonnes.

Officials also plan to reduce coal combustion in heating systems and industrial facilities, partly by switching to natural gas and by relocating some factories out of the city, and to phase out coal consumption completely by 2020.

A 400-megawatt facility owned by the Guohua Electric Power Co. Ltd was shut on Friday and replaced with a gas-fired plant. It followed the closure of a 93-year-old power station run by Beijing Jingneng Power on Thursday.

It shut its first coal-fired plant, the 600-MW Gaojing facility owned by the China Datang Corporation, last July.

Average levels of hazardous airborne particles known as PM2.5 stood at 85.9 micrograms per cubic meters in 2014, down 4 percent compared with the previous year, but still far higher than the national air quality standard of 35 micrograms.

Beijing plans to bring readings down to 60 by 2017, the municipal environmental bureau said earlier this year.

Only eight of the 74 Chinese cities monitored by the Ministry of Environmental Protection met smog standards in 2014. Seven of the 10 worst-performing cities were in the province of Hebei, which surrounds Beijing.

via Chinese capital shuts third coal-fired plant in war on smog | Reuters.

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06/03/2015

Chinese city shuts factories as environmental law bites | Reuters

An industrial city in eastern China has closed several factories, including many steel and nickel pig iron producers, in an apparent sign the government is stepping up enforcement of a new environmental law in the face of growing public discontent over pollution.

Premier Li Keqiang told the annual session of the National People’s Congress, or parliament, on Thursday his government would do everything it could to fight pollution.

China’s vast and energy-intensive steel sector is at the heart of the government’s war on pollution, but it also encapsulates the challenges of curbing smog without denting the economy. Complying with stricter standards would have knock-on effects throughout industry and raise costs for steel producers who are already feeling the pinch of tepid demand.

Most steel producers in Linyi, a city in coastal Shandong province, appear to have been shuttered, industry sources said.

“Almost all the steel-making production in Linyi has closed, and there is no date for when to resume production,” said an official with Linyi Yuansheng Casting Co Ltd, one of the mills in the city, who declined to be identified.

via Chinese city shuts factories as environmental law bites | Reuters.

03/02/2015

BBC News – The palace of shame that makes China angry

There is a deep, unhealed historical wound in the UK’s relations with China – a wound that most British people know nothing about, but which causes China great pain. It stems from the destruction in 1860 of the country’s most beautiful palace.

Tourists at the Old Summer Palace

It’s been described as China’s ground zero – a place that tells a story of cultural destruction that everyone in China knows about, but hardly anyone outside.

The palace’s fate is bitterly resented in Chinese minds and constantly resurfaces in Chinese popular films, angry social media debates, and furious rows about international art sales.

And it has left a controversial legacy in British art collections – royal, military, private – full of looted objects.

By coincidence, one of the story’s central characters is Lord Elgin – son of the man who removed the so-called “Elgin marbles” from Greece.

But there’s a twist – a hidden side to this story – which I’ve been exploring as it involved my ancestor, Thomas Bowlby, one of the first British foreign correspondents.

His torture and death at Chinese hands – and the revenge taken by Britain, destroying the old Summer Palace in Beijing in 1860 – was a moment, says one scholar, that “changed world history”.

These days the site is just ruins – piles of scorched masonry, lakes with overgrown plants, lawns with a few stones scattered where many buildings once stood. The site swarms with Chinese visitors, taken there as part of a government-sponsored “patriotic education” programme.

As everyone in China is taught, it was once the most beautiful collection of architecture and art in the country. Its Chinese name was Yuanmingyuan – Garden of Perfect Brightness – where Chinese emperors had built a huge complex of palaces and other fine buildings, and filled them with cultural treasures.

A new digital reconstruction by a team at Tsinghua University gives a vivid idea of what this extraordinary place looked like when, 155 years ago, a joint British-French army approached Beijing.

via BBC News – The palace of shame that makes China angry.

03/02/2015

China says 90 percent of cities failed to meet air standards in 2014 | Reuters

Nearly 90 percent of China’s big cities failed to meet air quality standards in 2014, but that was still an improvement on 2013 as the country’s “war on pollution” began to take effect, the environment ministry said on Monday.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection said on its website (www.mep.gov.cn) that only eight of the 74 cities it monitors managed to meet national standards in 2014 on a series of pollution measures such as PM2.5, which is a reading of particles found in the air, carbon monoxide and ozone.

Amid growing public disquiet about smog and other environmental risks, China said last year it would “declare war on pollution” and it has started to eliminate substandard industrial capacity and reduce coal consumption.

In 2013, only three cities – Haikou on the island province of Hainan, the Tibetan capital of Lhasa and the coastal resort city of Zhoushan – met the standards.

They were joined in 2014 by Shenzhen, Huizhou and Zhuhai in southeast Guangdong province, Fuzhou in neighboring Fujian and Kunming in the southwest.

Of the 10 worst-performing cities in 2014, seven were located in the heavy industrial province of Hebei, which surrounds the capital, Beijing, the ministry said. The cities of Baoding, Xingtai, Shijiazhuang, Tangshan, Handan and Hengshui, all in Hebei, filled the top six places.

via China says 90 percent of cities failed to meet air standards in 2014 | Reuters.

27/11/2014

China takes ‘zero tolerance’ approach to regional polluters: Cabinet | Reuters

China will take a “zero tolerance” approach to a wide range of environmental violations and has promised stronger action against regional governments that protect polluters or hinder inspections, according to a Cabinet document.

A man wearing a face mask stands on a bridge in front of the financial district of Pudong on a hazy day, in Shanghai November 17, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song

Authorities across China have been ordered to take part in a comprehensive inspection program to be completed by the end of 2015, said the policy document that was released on the official government website late on Wednesday.

The program’s findings will be released publicly under a policy of enhanced transparency and accountability, it said, and any regional regulations that hinder enforcement of national environmental legislation must be annulled by June 2015.

The state of China’s air, soil and rivers has emerged as one of the ruling Communist Party’s biggest challenges, with an increasingly prosperous public unwilling to accept the environmental costs of rapid economic growth.

China declared a “war on pollution” this year and passed long-awaited amendments to its 1989 Environmental Protection Law, giving authorities added powers to monitor, fine and even imprison repeat offenders.

On Wednesday, the cabinet also approved draft amendments to China’s air pollution law that include unlimited daily fines if violators do not rectify problems, the China Daily newspaper reported. Polluters currently pay a one-off fine of up to 200,000 yuan ($32,595).

Enforcement remains one of the government’s main concerns, with the Ministry of Environmental Protection complaining last month that some regions preferred “form over substance” when it came to implementing new guidelines.

The ministry also criticized regional governments that failed to comply fully with industrial restrictions during this month’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing.

(1 US dollar = 6.1360 Chinese yuan)

via China takes ‘zero tolerance’ approach to regional polluters: Cabinet | Reuters.

21/11/2014

China Plans to Move Factories Abroad to Cut Smog – Businessweek

Even as northern China, including Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei province, continues to suffer from hazardous air—“people with respiratory issues are advised to stay indoors or wear protective masks,” the official English language China Daily advised earlier today, Nov.20—some relief may be on the longer-term horizon.

The Baosteel Group Corp. facilities in Shanghai, China

Chinese authorities in Hebei province, one of China’s largest steel-producing regions, announced they plan to relocate steel, cement, and glass factories overseas over the next decade. The many industrial factories that surround Beijing and Tianjin are known to be a major source of the lung-choking smog that periodically smothers much of northern China. Hebei province alone produces 200 million tons of steel annually, or about one-quarter of China’s total production.

“The initiative comes at a time when local steel, cement, and glass producers are struggling, with sluggish growth in the world’s second-largest economy crippling demand for their products. In many cases, it has led to severe overcapacity,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported Nov. 19.

By 2017, according to Hebei authorities, Hebei plans to move 5 million tons of steel production capacity, the same amount for cement, and 3 million “weight boxes” of glass production (a weight box is roughly 50 kg, the paper explained). Much more will be moved in the following six years, through 2023, including 20 million tons of steel, 30 million of cement, and 10 million weight boxes of glass production, Xinhua reported.

While steel manufacturers will be encouraged through unspecified preferential policies to relocate some production in Africa and Asia, cement and glass producers will go to those two regions, as well as South America and Central and East Europe.

“Hebei is a major source of industrial pollutants blamed for the notorious choking smog that often spreads to neighboring regions like Beijing,” Xinhua reported.

via China Plans to Move Factories Abroad to Cut Smog – Businessweek.

20/11/2014

China’s Water Supply Is Contaminated and Shrinking – Businessweek

China’s hazardous smog is an in-your-face and choke-your-lungs kind of problem—hard to miss, particularly when air quality soars to severely polluted levels, as it did in Beijing today (Nov.19). But an equally dire environmental threat is the alarmingly low quality of China’s water resources.

A polluted canal in Beijing

That was highlighted in an investigative report on China’s water crisis in the official Xinhua News Agency yesterday. Sixty percent of China’s groundwater, monitored at 4,778 sites across the country, is either “bad” or “very bad,” according to a survey by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Xinhua reported. Meanwhile, more than half, or 17 of China’s 31 major freshwater lakes, are polluted, at least slightly or moderately.

The report said that 300 of China’s 657 major cities also face water shortages, according to the standard set by the United Nations. A particularly severe problem is the dearth of water in the North China region, including the cities of Beijing and Tianjin and the surrounding province of Hebei. Water per capita in that area amounts to only 286 cubic meters annually, much less than the 500 cubic meter minimum. Below that minimum is classified as “absolute scarcity.” (Xinhua says under 1,000 cubic meters per capita classifies as “scarcity.”)

With rapid urbanization an official economic priority, fears are that China’s crisis of degraded and inadequate water supplies could worsen. Meanwhile, about 3.3 million hectares of farmland—an area the size of Belgium—has become too contaminated to grow crops, China’s authorities revealed late last year.

“Experts blamed some local governments and businesses for recklessly pursuing quick money by developing projects that devoured resources and caused serious pollution,” the China Daily reported today, citing the Xinhua article on water scarcity.

via China’s Water Supply Is Contaminated and Shrinking – Businessweek.

13/08/2014

Beijing cuts coal use by 7 percent in first half of year – China – Chinadaily.com.cn

Beijing cut coal consumption by 7 percent in the first half of 2014 as part of its efforts to tackle smog, the city’s environmental protection bureau said.

Beijing cuts coal use by 7 percent in first half of year

Beijing is at the front line of a “war on pollution” declared by the central government earlier this year in a bid to head off public unrest about the growing environmental costs of economic development.

The city has already started to close or relocate hundreds of factories and industrial plants.

The coal-fired power generators at Beijing’s Gaojing Thermal Power Plant are decommissioned on July 23. Provided to China Daily

It will also raise vehicle fuel standards and is mulling the introduction of a congestion charge.

To reduce coal consumption, it is in the process of shutting down all of its aging coal-fired power plants and replacing them with cleaner natural gas-fired capacity or with power delivered via the grid.

Based on last year’s coal consumption level of 19 million metric tons, the 7 percent cut would amount to around 1.33 million tons per year.

Beijing has said previously that it plans to reduce total coal use by 2.6 million tons in 2014, and aims to slash consumption to less than 10 million tons per year by 2017.

The Beijing environmental bureau said the city had cut sulfur dioxide emissions by 5.4 percent over the first six months of the year.

It also took 176,000 substandard vehicles off the road.

Previous data issued by the Ministry of Environmental Protection showed that concentrations of hazardous airborne particles known as PM2.5 stood at 91.6 micrograms per cubic meter in Beijing in the first half of the year, down 11.2 percent year-on-year but still more than twice the recommended national limit of 35 mcg.

Much of the pollution that hits Beijing drifts in from the surrounding province of Hebei, a major industrial region that is home to seven of China’s 10 most polluted cities.

Under new plans to integrate Beijing with Hebei and the port city of Tianjin, the region will be treated as a “single entity” with unified industrial and emission standards.

Hebei said last week that it had cut coal consumption by 7.53 million tons in the first half of 2014, amounting to just over half of its target of 15 million tons for the year.

The province agreed last year to cut coal use by 40 million tons by 2017, and it is also planning to shed at least 60 million tons of excess steel capacity over the same period.

via Beijing cuts coal use by 7 percent in first half of year – China – Chinadaily.com.cn.

18/02/2014

* China to spend $330 billion to fight water pollution -paper | Reuters

China has a fifth of the world’s population but just 7 percent of its water resources, and the situation is especially precarious in its parched north, where some regions have less water per capita than the Middle East.

A man walks by a pipe discharging waste water into the Yangtze River from a paper mill in Anqing, Anhui province, December 4, 2013. REUTERS/William Hong

The plan is still being finalized but the budget has been set, exceeding the 1.7 trillion yuan ($277 billion) China plans to spend battling its more-publicized air pollution crisis, the China Securities Journal reported, citing the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

It will aim to improve the quality of China’s water by 30 to 50 percent, the paper said, through investments in technologies such as waste water treatment, recycling and membrane technology.

The paper did not say how the funds would be raised, when the plan would take effect, or what timeframe was visualized, however.

Groundwater resources are heavily polluted, threatening access to drinking water, Environment Minister Zhai Qing told a news conference in the capital, Beijing, last week.

According to government data, a 2012 survey of 5,000 groundwater check points found 57.3 percent of samples to be heavily polluted.

China emits around 24 million tons of COD, or chemical oxygen demand, a measure of organic matter in waste water, and 2.45 million tons of ammonia nitrogen, into its water each year, Zhai said.

Over the next five years, China has previously estimated it will need to spend a total of 60 billion yuan to set up sludge treatment facilities, and a further 10 billion yuan for annual operation, the environment ministry says.

China is short on water to begin with but its water problems are made worse by its reliance on coal – which uses massive amounts of water to suppress dust and clean the fuel before it is burnt – to generate nearly 70 percent of its electricity while self-sufficiency in food remains a key political priority.

via China to spend $330 billion to fight water pollution -paper | Reuters.

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11/02/2014

China says gets tough on polluters, nixes projects worth $19.5 billion | Reuters

China’s environmental watchdog vetoed as many as 32 projects with a total investment of 118.4 billion yuan ($19.5 billion) last year as it stepped up efforts to get tough on industrial polluters, a senior official said on Tuesday.

Buildings are pictured amid the heavy haze at night in Beijing's central business district, January 30, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Zhai Qing, the vice-environment minister, told reporters his ministry was working to improve its environmental assessment capabilities and strengthen its powers to monitor and punish polluters.

“I think our ability to enforce and monitor is extremely important… and since last year, we have been constantly trying to strengthen our abilities,” he added.

Beijing is under intense pressure to clean up its heavily polluted air, water and soil in the face of mounting public anger, but enforcement has been identified as one its biggest challenges, with the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) struggling to find the clout to take on powerful industrial interests and growth-obsessed local authorities.

Officials have acknowledged that the ministry’s punitive powers are limited. Fines are far lower than the cost of compliance and many big companies are willing to pay up and continue breaking the law.

The ministry is now hoping to extend its authority as China’s new leadership promises to abandon the crude pursuit of economic growth. A new environmental law is likely to raise the fines imposed on polluters, and sources say the ministry’s powers could be expanded further in a government shake-up expected to take place in March.

via China says gets tough on polluters, nixes projects worth $19.5 billion | Reuters.

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