The Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, in conjunction with organizations such as the Environmental Policy Research Institute of People’s University, the SEE Foundation, Friends of Nature, Envirofriends, and the Nature University, yesterday publically released their second ‘Blue Sky Roadmap’ air pollution report. The report’s findings indicate that emissions from some large-scale, high energy-consumption industry, such as thermal power plants and steel industries, are seriously exceeding emissions limits. It also calls on people from all walks of life to push for the real-time publishing of emissions levels, so that emissions can be reduced through societal monitoring.
In 2013 China often experienced smog and society began to pay close attention to the governance of this problem. When viewed alongside the previous Roadmap report, published in December 2011, it is clear that China has already made significant progress in the fields of information disclosure and early warning systems. In 2013 provinces such as Shandong, Zhejiang and Hebei made their real-time monitoring reports of pollution sources publicly available online, and it is these releases that provided important new data for the new report’s analysis of the origins of the smog.
Based on preliminary analysis of this online data, environmental NGOs have discovered that in areas like North China, Shandong, and Hebei, certain large-scale thermal power and steel enterprises have excessive emissions outputs. Amongst these enterprises, some, even though they are in a heavily polluted area themselves, still seriously exceed emissions levels. Changes in the emission outputs of these primary sources of pollution have a direct effect on the local air quality, and are worthy of further study.
Controlling smog requires the reduction of emissions but the exact origins of the pollution are still disputed. After their analysis the environmental NGOs believe that today’s air pollution has already taken on regional characteristics. As a result they think that any identification of the origins of the pollution should expand to the regional level. Related research indicates that in areas like the Beijing-Tianjin conurbation and the Yangtze river delta, high energy-consumption industries that use large volumes of coal, are huge polluters. To reduce emissions in these areas certain large-scale power plants, and steel, chemical and concrete plants must first be regulated.
Currently, Shandong province has already advanced the tightening of its regulations on industries such as steel and power and Hebei province has just introduced more rigorous regulation of its steel industry. However, the report also states that in provinces like Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Liaoning, important emissions standards, such as Hebei’s regulation of its power and cement industries, and Tianjin’s regulation of nitrogen oxide levels, have still not been tightened.