China announced on Tuesday that capital city Beijing and its adjoining areas will stop using coal by 2020 to reduce the recurring smog. This is among a host of measures being taken by the city to improve air quality, including the replacement of coal-fired stoves with those powered by electricity or gas, reported PTI. Beijing's Environmental Protection Bureau said boosting efforts to cut air pollution in northern China is its mission for this year.
This winter, Beijing declared two unprecedented red alerts after being enveloped by heavily polluted smog. This led to a host of emergency measures being imposed in the city of over 22 million people, including closing schools and restricting traffic with odd and even number plates.
Chinese minister of environmental protection, Chen Jining, said that the burning coal for winter heating is one of the primary causes of air pollution. He added that the ministry will do everything to prevent environmental protection from becoming a stumbling block for the country during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20).