Heavy smog expected ahead of Beijing summit

2014-10-27 20:48
Apec China 2014. (Supplied)

Apec China 2014. (Supplied)

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Beijing - China's capital is expected to face more heavy smog from Wednesday as it battles to try to guarantee air quality ahead of an Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit starting on Saturday, forecasters said.

Beijing, enveloped by thick smog over the past few days, has announced various long-term schemes over recent years to end the problem once and for all but none has worked.

According to forecasts from the China National Environmental Monitoring Centre published by the Ministry of Environmental Protection on Monday, unfavourable weather conditions mean that central and southern parts of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region will face "severe pollution" ahead of Apec.

Beijing and nearby regions will impose their most stringent pollution controls since the 2008 Summer Olympics as they bid to maintain air quality during the summit, which will be attended by US President Barack Obama and other world leaders.

Workers will be sent home in early November, traffic will be restricted and hundreds of polluting industrial plants will be closed within a 200km radius of the capital.

Beijing has already dispatched teams of "chengguan" - city security officials - to stop illegal activities and it will also impose more stringent restrictions if pollution readings rise beyond tolerable levels over the 12-day period.

Zhang Qingwei, the governor of neighbouring industrial province of Hebei, said that curbing pollution during the meeting was vital for China's "national image", while vice-premier Zhang Gaoli described it as the "priority of priorities".

Smog readings soared after the 1-8 October National Day holiday, when industrial plants in northern China returned to full capacity, and pressures are likely to intensify in early November, with coal consumption about to jump as urban heating systems are switched on for the winter.

Read more on:    apec  |  china  |  environment

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