BEIJING, Oct 18 (Reuters) - China’s Jiangsu province has pledged to take tougher measures to tackle air pollution over the next three years, targeting heavy industry, energy consumption and transportation in the east coast manufacturing hub.
The promise comes as China’s environment ministry accused provincial officials on Wednesday of not properly enforcing anti-pollution policies, including by inflating cuts in coal consumption.
Jiangsu is China’s second-largest steel producing province with around 140 million tonnes of steelmaking capacity and is home to a range of heavy industry.
The province will aim to keep the concentration of hazardous floating particles, known as PM2.5, below 46 micrograms per cubic metre by 2020, according to an anti-pollution action plan issued by the provincial government. Last year, its PM2.5 reading was 49 micrograms.
China’s official urban air quality standard is 35 micrograms, but the World Health Organization recommends levels of no more than 10 micrograms.
Jiangus plans to cut steel capacity by 17.5 million tonnes by 2020, ban new capacity in the steel, coke, primary aluminium, casting cement and glass sectors, and shut down all independent coke plants near the Yangtze River and Tai Lake area.
Companies in heavy industry will face production restrictions and need to move to designated industrial parks within time periods to be set by local government or face closure, the plan said.
The province is also aiming to boost the use of cleaner-burning natural gas and will accelerate construction of facilities such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and storage tanks. Jiangsu is targetting natural gas consumption of of about 35 billion cubic metres (bcm) by 2020, up from 21.7 bcm last year.
Coal consumption, on the other hand, will be reduced and more than 2 gigawatts of small coal-fired power utilities will be phased out.
The plan also targets switching some road transportation to rail and waterways. Lianyungang port will be asked to boost rail transport of iron ore to inland regions.
While provinces in northern China are planning to implement winter pollution plans for a second year, Jiangsu said it will also roll out similar action during autumn.
Jiangsu is already working with the nearby regions of Shanghai, Anhui and Zhejiang on an integrated plan to tackle pollution and will coordinate its efforts with Shandong province to the north. (Reporting by Muyu Xu and Dominique Patton; editing by Richard Pullin)