August 1, 2018 / 5:17 AM / 9 months ago

China's Guangdong drafts tighter industrial capacity curbs in Pearl River Delta

FILE PHOTO: A boy looks at cargo ships passing along the Pearl River in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, August 6, 2014. REUTERS/Alex Lee/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s southeastern province of Guangdong has issued draft guidelines that call for a ban on new industrial capacity for a range of businesses in the Pearl River Delta region, to limit air pollution.

The Delta, a manufacturing hub on the edge of the South China Sea that includes Guangdong’s main cities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen, was one of the few regions to meet China’s national air quality standard in 2017.

The Guangdong Environmental Protection Bureau said on Tuesday that the restrictions on new industrial capacity, which are subject to public consultation until Aug. 29, apply to business sectors including coal-fired power generation, steel, petroleum, petrochemicals, glass, ceramics and non-ferrous metal smelting.

No implementation date for the restrictions was mentioned.

The latest draft represents a tightening of previous guidelines, issued in April, for all new steel, petrochemical and cement plants in Guangdong to meet tougher emissions standards by December.

But, the move would match tougher action taken elsewhere. China’s State Council said in June it was banning new steel, coke and primary aluminum capacity in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and Yangtze River Delta regions.

The Guangdong Environmental Protection Bureau also said it would strive to achieve concentrations of particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), a hazardous form of air pollution that can penetrate deep into the human lung, that are below 25 micrograms per cubic meter, without giving a time frame.

A separate document the Bureau released last month gave a province-wide average PM 2.5 concentration target of below 33 micrograms per cubic meter by 2020. It also said cities in the Pearl River Delta needed to eliminate no less than 10 percent of high-energy consuming companies every year until 2020. For cities outside the Delta, the target is 5 percent.

In Tuesday’s document, the bureau also said it was planning to work with Hong Kong, Macau and other nearby regions on pollution control.

Reporting by Tom Daly and Muyu Xu; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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