Smoggy Beijing to cut coal use 30 percent this year: mayor

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BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese capital Beijing will intensify its battle against choking air pollution this year and aims to cut coal use by 30 percent, state news agency Xinhua cited mayor Cai Qi as saying.

Despite repeated pledges to get tough, large parts of northern and central China have been engulfed in thick smog again this winter, often for days at a time, disrupting flights, port operations and schools.

Cai said the government will take even more steps this year, including cutting coal use by helping residents of 700 villages to use clean energy, Xinhua said.

“We will try to basically realize zero coal use in six major districts and in Beijing’s southern plain areas this year,” Cai said.

“We will slash coal use by 30 percent to less than 7 million tonnes in 2017,” he added.

Beijing will also remove 300,000 old vehicles from the roads this year and promote the use of new energy cars, Xinhua said.

Cai added that better regional coordination was needed.

“It is an urgent task for Beijing and its neighboring areas to work together and improve air quality in the region.”

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Andrew Bolton)
Copyright 2016 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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