June 4, 2018 / 8:29 AM / 21 days ago

Shanghai city to cap industrial manufacturing during smog build-ups

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Shanghai will curb output from industries like petrochemicals, steel, cement and shipbuilding on days of heavy pollution from this year, the government of China’s biggest city said in an announcement on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a face mask rides a bicycle on a bridge in front of the financial district of Pudong covered in smog during a polluted day in Shanghai, China November 22, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song

Amid China’s wide-ranging campaign to slash pollution, the city administration said on its official Wechat social media account that it would emulate Beijing by imposing mandatory suspensions on key industries when the official air quality index exceeds a reading of 200, considered “heavily polluted”.

It said high smog readings would also trigger restrictions on construction activities in the city, and it would also move to ban open-air barbecues, fireworks and the burning of crops.

China’s war on pollution has mostly focused on heavy industrial northern regions, especially those near the capital Beijing, where hazardous smog has caused severe health risks and caused political embarrassment for the central government.

But environmental groups have expressed concern that the campaign to improve air quality in Beijing has forced industries to move south, bringing more smog to regions like Shanghai and the surrounding Yangtze river delta.

The Yangtze delta, which includes Shanghai, saw average concentrations of hazardous, breathable particles known as PM2.5 fall 4.3 percent to 44 micrograms per cubic meter in 2017, compared to 64 micrograms in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

However, the region saw PM2.5 rise 20 percent in January, as local industries raised production to compensate for output cuts in the north.

Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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