Beijing, five other cities to jointly fight smog

Beijing, Feb 19 (IANS) China’s national environmental authority has launched a new plan that targets Beijing, Tianjin and four neighbouring cities with restrictions aiming to curb severe smog, the media reported on Friday.

The six core cities will have a unified response against severe air pollution by March 15, the first step in coordinating regional efforts to determine alert levels and issue responses, said Chen Jining, minister of environmental protection,.

In addition to the capital of Beijing and the northern major port hub of Tianjin, the cities are Baoding, Langfang, Tangshan and Cangzhou in Hebei province, all of which have frequently seen severe smog since 2013, the China Daily reported.

Among them, Baoding has ranked at the bottom for two consecutive years among the 74 major cities in terms of air quality.

The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area, known as the trilateral region, has seen worse air quality than the cities in two other industrial regions – the Yangtze River and Pearl River deltas.

In December, three spells of smog hit the region, driving readings of major airborne pollutants to alarmingly hazardous levels, and many cities issued alerts.

The capital issued the highest response, red alert, twice – implementing tough restrictions like suspending industrial production and slashing by half the number of vehicles allowed on roads.

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