Blue Skies in Beijing? Beijing’s Crackdown on Dirty Fuels

It has recently been announced that China’s government is going to attempt to combat the issue of air pollution in Beijing with a reduction in the use of the amount of coal and other dirty fuels such as biomass and petroleum coke

According to the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau the districts of Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai and Shijingshan will stop using coal and its related products, and close coal-fired power plants and other coal facilities. This plan will be well underway in the next few years and by the year 2020 coal sales and use will be banned in Beijing. But what is the alternative for the capital city?

Clean energy like electricity and natural gas will replace coal to serve residents with heating, cooking and other activities. IGCC (Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle) plants could also be another option for Beijing. IGCC plants have achieved the lowest levels of criteria pollutant air emissions (NOx, SOx, CO, PM10) of any coal fuelled power plants in the world. Emissions of trace hazardous air pollutants are extremely low, comparable with those from direct fire combustion plants that use advanced emission control technologies.

However, much of the air pollution in Beijing actually comes from surrounding bordering areas. Officials say a quarter of Beijing’s air pollution is blown in from heavily industrialised areas such as Hebei and Shanxi. As well as this there is no mention of controlling the amount of cars on the roads and any improvement in the enforcement of emissions standards which are two huge contributing factors in regards to the issue of air pollution. Having said that any improvements, however big or small, are definitely steps in the right direction. Beijing could se the example for regions across the whole of China and maybe even the world

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