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Practically Improving Regional Air Quality
On Sept. 18, Vice Premier Gaoli ZHANG attended the work conference on the prevention and control of air pollution in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and the surrounding areas and delivered a speech to mobilize and deploy the work of accelerating the comprehensive treatment of air pollution in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei Province, Shanxi Province, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and Shandong Province. Gaoli ZHANG pointed out that the Party Central Committee and the State Council highly emphasized the treatment of air and environmental pollution, regarding it as a breakthrough towards building an ecological civilization, a focus for improving people’s livelihood, and an approach to promoting the economic upgrade and transformation. Recently, the State Council released the Action Plan for Combating Air Pollution, and the related departments issued detailed implementation rules for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and the surrounding areas.

Gaoli ZHANG emphasized that the prevention and control of air pollution was a long-term, tough, and complicated task, which required not only firm determination but also steady and orderly implementation. Priority should be given to controlling heavily-polluted cities, restructuring energy sources, reducing vehicle emissions, controlling highly-polluting industries and enterprises, controlling the pollution in the winter heating season, and so forth.

Gaoli ZHANG required that air quality should be taken serious as an ecological red line in coordinating socio-economic development. Local governments should be fully responsible for the air quality in their territories. The state will announce a list of ten cities with the worst air quality and those with the best air quality, and evaluate the performance of provincial governments. A regional collaboration mechanism should be established, and efforts should be made to build a warning and emergency response system and to promote the sharing of environmental information. Inter-departmental coordination and cooperation should be improved and public participation should be encouraged, so as to lay a solid social foundation for the constant improvement of air quality.

At the meeting, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the governments of the six provinces and cities signed a document concerning the objectives and responsibilities for fighting air pollution

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