China to 'declare war' on pollution: Li Keqiang

  • Reuters, Beijing
  • Updated: Mar 05, 2014 08:54 IST
  • Statutes of founding leaders of the Communist Party of China and leading economists were masked at the prestigious Peking University as a mark of protest against pollution. (Photo courtesy: China Foto Press)

    Smog in China

    Statutes of founding leaders of the Communist Party of China and leading economists were masked at the prestigious Peking University as a mark of protest against...

  • A woman (C) wearing a mask stands besides her bicycle as vehicles stop at a traffic junction on a busy street amid thick haze in Beijing February 25, 2014. Reuters/Barry Huang

    Smog in China

    A woman (C) wearing a mask stands besides her bicycle as vehicles stop at a traffic junction on a busy street amid thick haze in Beijing February 25, 2014. Reuters/Barry...

  • A man wearing a mask makes his way amid the heavy haze in Beijing February 22, 2014. Reuters Photo

    Smog in China

    A man wearing a mask makes his way amid the heavy haze in Beijing February 22, 2014. Reuters Photo

  • A man and his dog, both wearing masks, walk along a small alley on a hazy day in Beijing, February 23, 2014. (Reuters Photo)

    Smog in China

    A man and his dog, both wearing masks, walk along a small alley on a hazy day in Beijing, February 23, 2014. (Reuters Photo)

  • A policeman is seen wearing with a mask in smog-covered Beijing. China

    Smog in China

    A policeman is seen wearing with a mask in smog-covered Beijing. China's National Meteorological Centre issued a "yellow" smog alert for much of the country's north, the...

  • Vehicles travel on a viaduct next to residential buildings amid thick haze in Shenyang, Liaoning province February 24, 2014. (Reuters Photo)

    Smog in China

    Vehicles travel on a viaduct next to residential buildings amid thick haze in Shenyang, Liaoning province February 24, 2014. (Reuters Photo)

  • A couple wearing face masks walk along a street on a hazy afternoon in Beijing February 24, 2014. (Reuters Photo)

    Smog in China

    A couple wearing face masks walk along a street on a hazy afternoon in Beijing February 24, 2014. (Reuters Photo)

  • Picture shows a woman wearing a mask in haze-covered Temple of Heaven in Beijing. (AFP photo)

    Smog in China

    Picture shows a woman wearing a mask in haze-covered Temple of Heaven in Beijing. (AFP photo)

  • Picture shows a man (R) exercizing in haze-covered Beijing. (AFP photo)

    Smog in China

    Picture shows a man (R) exercizing in haze-covered Beijing. (AFP photo)

  • This picture taken on February 24, 2014 shows a woman wearing a mask exercizing in a park in haze-covered Beijing. (AFP Photo)

    Smog in China

    This picture taken on February 24, 2014 shows a woman wearing a mask exercizing in a park in haze-covered Beijing. (AFP Photo)

  • Picture shows residents waiting for buses in a bus station in haze-covered Beijing. (AFP photo)

    Smog in China

    Picture shows residents waiting for buses in a bus station in haze-covered Beijing. (AFP photo)

China will "declare war" on pollution, Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday at the start of the annual meeting of parliament, with the government unveiling detailed measures to tackle what has become a hot-button social issue.

It is not uncommon for air pollution in parts of China to breach levels considered by some experts to be hazardous. That has drawn much public ire and is a worry for China's government, which fears any discontent that might compromise stability.

"We will resolutely declare war against pollution as we declared war against poverty," Li told the almost 3,000 delegates to the country's largely rubber-stamp legislature in a "state-of-the-union" address carried live on state television.

The battle against pollution will be waged via reforms in energy pricing to boost non-fossil fuel power and cutting capacity in the steel and cement sectors which are the sources of much air pollution.

But China does not just suffer from smog, which has once again this winter enveloped large parts of the country's heavily populated eastern flank.

Read: Chinese man becomes first to sue govt for failing to curb air pollution

China also suffers badly from water and soil pollution. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's economic planner, said that it would also take action this year to tackle agricultural pollution, including the contamination of farmland by heavy metals.

Last month, the government said it would spend 2 trillion yuan, or $330 billion, on an action plan to tackle pollution of its scarce water resources.

Read: President's walk in smog-covered Beijing delights residents, but no relief in sight yet

Read: Smog returns over Beijing, heavy fireworks scale up pollution levels

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