Beijing has put in place a new police force to curb the rising pollution levels in the Chinese capital. Acting Mayor Cai Qi on Saturday announced that the new environmental squad will target open-air barbecues, garbage incineration and burning of wood and other biomass, reported Xinhua news agency.
They plan to reduce the use of coal by nearly 30% in 2017, shut down 500 higher-polluting factories and upgraded 2,500 others, Cai added. Around three lakh smoke-belching vehicles will be restricted from entering the city from February, as well.
This is the latest step introduced by the Chinese government to tackle the menace of pollution in the capital. Beijing and many other cities in China record very high pollution levels during winter. Last week, more than 20 cities were on put on red alert, reported AP. When on red alert, schools and other business establishments in the city remain closed, cars are be allowed to ply on the roads and flights are cancelled.
During Saturday’s meeting, Cai said “lax supervision and weak law enforcement” allowed people to carry out polluting activities. Last week, the country’s Environmental Ministry said that its inspection teams had found companies continuing production work despite a government ban.
Agencies from around the world have recorded alarming levels of pollution in the winter months towards the end of 2016. In its effort to cope with its worst winter pollution in a decade, the French Capital of Paris, in December, introduced traffic restrictions, including an odd-even scheme similar to the one implemented in Delhi in April 2016. The Spanish Capital of Madrid followed suit implementing their own version of restrictions on car usage in a bid to address rising air pollution levels on December 29.