The director of Shanghai’s environmental protection bureau told legislators yesterday that it would take at least 10 years to relieve the city of its air pollution problems, saying ‘We shall have determination to prepare for a tough and long battle,’ but that the heavy smog hovering over the city ‘can hardly change in a short period of time’.
In the past month, the city has seen off-the-charts levels of smogs resulting in the environmental protection bureau’s backward decision to lower the air quality benchmark to reduce the number of alerts.
Authorities have said that short-term measures will be taken, including halting construction and regulating vehicle usage during especially polluted days, according to Shanghai Daily. Vehicle and factory emissions make up at least 50 percent of the city’s pollution (although the majority of that is likely the plant emissions) and dust from construction sites accounts for 10.5 percent.
Straw burning is estimated to account for 10 percent of the city’s air pollution, 7.3 percent comes from power stations, and the last 20 percent comes from other provinces. Shanghai’s wind is among other blamed factors.
Zhang says that the city government plans to launch a joint campaign with Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces to cut PM2.5 levels by 20 percent in the next three years, while enforcing harsher punishments on factories and vehicles failing to follow bureau regulations.
Vehicles found discharging black smoke face a fine of up to 500 yuan (US$82). Those responsible for pollution or involved in serious environmental violations can be fined up to 100,000 yuan.
Companies discharging air pollutants without licenses or unloading excessive level of air pollutants, even if they are licensed, will be fined up to 100,000 yuan or possibly shut down if they fail to rectify problems in a certain period of time.
The traffic authority is to eliminate the remaining 10,000 heavily polluting public buses by next July, said Sun Jianping, director with the city’s traffic and harbor management bureau.
Researchers out of Beijing are also looking for means to ease the capital’s heavy smog, currently by pumping liquid nitrogen into the atmosphere to disperse the pollutant particles.