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China tackles pollution with pledge to withdraw 6 million vehicles

28 May 2014
China tackles pollution with pledge to withdraw 6 million vehicles

BEIJING: The Chinese Government aims to take 6 million old vehicles off the road by end of 2014 in a move to curb the high levels of national air pollution, according to a new official document released on Monday.

The Action Plan for Energy Conservation, Emissions Reduction, and Low-carbon Development for the Years 2014 and 2015, decries that aging “yellow label” cars must be removed from the roads on account of high vehicle emissions.

These vehicles have been significant contributors to China’s smog due to the dangerous particulate matter which they release (PM2.5).

The Asian nation’s alarmingly high smog levels have become a critical political issue given their threat to human health. In Harbin, a city in the northeastern Chinese province of Heilongjiang, the index measurement of PM2.5 reached 1,000 last October, well above the recognized hazardous level of 300. 

Prompted by the national indignation at the unacceptable air pollution levels, Premier Li Keqiang stated he would ‘declare war’ on pollution in March of this year, and this new action plan will play a key role in strengthening China’s environmental policy.

The new plan’s primary aim is to remove 6 million aging vehicles from China’s roads by the end of 2014, but it also sets a regional target for Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta. These areas should aim to remove 5 million cars by the end of 2015, the document outlines.

Beijing is aiming to limit its total number of cars to 5.6 million by the end of this year, and by 2017 this figure should reach 6 million the authorities have confirmed.

China is also progressing the development of cleaner technologies in its cities and could soon host the world's largest electric vehicle (EV) fast-charger network, thanks to a collaboration between two leading power and auto companies.

Changhua Wu, Greater China Director of The Climate Group, remarked: “Last March, Premier Li Keqiang pledged to ‘declare war’ on pollution and his actions since then have demonstrated a strong commitment to delivering on that promise. Tackling vehicle emissions, which are significantly responsible for the dangerous particulate matter in our air, is a tangible step which will improve the lives of citizens across the country."

"Initiatives like this offer us a glimpse of what could be achieved if environmental policy is placed at the heart of China’s domestic agenda, alongside policies to accelerate the scale-up of low carbon technologies such as electric vehicles. We need this kind of leadership for the realization of China’s Clean Revolution”, the Director added.

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By Alana Ryan


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