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Home / Environment / How Beijing got rid of pollution tag with astute planning

How Beijing got rid of pollution tag with astute planning

Between 2013 and 2016, PM10 levels fell by about 15% in Beijing, while the Indian capital has seen no significant improvement.

environment Updated: May 02, 2018 10:43 IST
Malavika Vyawahare
Malavika Vyawahare
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Beijing has managed to bring down its pollution levels with some micro planning.
Beijing has managed to bring down its pollution levels with some micro planning.(File photo)

Beijing was one of the most polluted megacities in 2012, with levels comparable to Delhi. However, between 2013 and 2016 PM10 levels fell by about 15% in Beijing, while the Indian capital has seen no significant improvement.

Air pollution, measured in particulate matter, in Delhi was about three times the levels in Beijing in 2016, latest air pollution analysis by World Health Organization (WHO), shows.

Experts attribute Beijing’s improvements to four key areas:

* Specific targets and timelines for pollution reduction

* Making resources available both at the centre and state level

* Strict implementation

* Review

Under the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan (APPCAP) framed in 2013, China targeted to reduce urban ambient concentration of PM 2.5 across the nation by 10% and by 15%-25% in the three key regions of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, Yangtze river Delta, and Pearl river Delta.

READ: Delhi world’s most polluted city, Mumbai worse than Beijing, says WHO data

China planned to achieve the targets by 2017, the same year in which Delhi got the Graded Response Action Plan. Despite the environment minister pronouncing that in three years particulate pollution would reduce by 35% and by 50% in five years, the targets were not incorporated in the draft GRAP.

India’s proposed ₹637 crore outlay for the National Clean Air Programme, which includes expansion of monitoring network, conducting source apportionment studies to 100 cities and training of personnel. However, no money has been allotted for helping states implement their action plans. “In China there is a top down approach unlike India,” Jostein Nygard, who has worked on air pollution issues in China for over two decades, told HT in a recent interview.

Sunil Dahiya, a Greenpeace activist, said even if the majority of funds are to come from the states, ₹637 crore is not enough.

China has also enforced strict emission standards for thermal power plants and industries, achieving significant reduction in SOx and NOx emissions.

“It is not just about more money but spending it on the right solutions. The scale, stringency and depth of China’s actions are more compared to India,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director at Centre for Science and Environment.

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