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Going green: China targets vehicle emissions
February 27, 2018, 5:10 pm

Beijing issued a yellow alert on Tuesday as smog levels increased [Xinhua]

China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection has earmarked combating vehicle emissions as a focus for 2018 after the municipal authorities issued a yellow alert for smog in the capital.

Air quality in the Chinese capital Beijing drops dramatically during the winter months to sometimes harmful levels.

“Targeting motor vehicle exhaust emissions is precise treatment for the city’s smoggy weather as studies have found they are the top source of the city’s major air pollutants,” the Ministry said on Tuesday.

For the past several years, Beijing has used a color code alert system including red – as the most dangerous and lethal, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

The red code is triggered when the city anticipates four consecutive days of heavy air pollution, including two days of severe air pollution.

A red alert is also issued if the city’s Air Quality Index (AQI) reaches 500, local media have said.

The authorities are now encouraging residents to curb the use of their vehicles while more pressure is applied to construction sites to implement stricter pollution controls.

The winter months are particularly more dangerous as millions of Chinese resort to coal as a primary heating source.

According to the Xinhua official news agency, China successfully transformed 901 villages from reliance on coal to clean energy, and phased out nearly half a million outdated vehicles.

According to the municipal environmental agency, the average density of PM2.5 in Beijing was 58 micrograms per cubic meter last year, meeting the target set by the State Council, and 20.5 percent less than in 2016.

Beijing’s concentration of PM 2.5 particles – those small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream – has been in previous years alarming.

PM 2.5 are airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter which can pose health risks.

In recent years, PM 2.5 readings in the capital averaged nine times the safe level defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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