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China moves to ensure clean air for military parade
China on Monday unveiled temporary measures to guarantee clean air for the Sept. 3 military parade commemorating the end of World War II.
At a meeting held on Monday to coordinate efforts for clean air in Beijing, Environment Minister Chen Jining said clean air was integral to the success of the parade and the overall image of the capital city.
Beijing, along with Hebei, Tianjin, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Shandong and Henan, will implement temporary controls on industry, power plants and construction between Aug. 28 and Sept. 4, said Zhang Gong, vice mayor of Beijing.
Some coal-fired power plants will be shut down for maintenance, more than 10,000 factories will close or reduce production, and construction at nearly 9,000 sites will stop, according to Zhang.
Private vehicles in Beijing will be banned from the roads every other day from Aug. 20 to Sept. 3, according to their plate number. Eighty percent of government cars will also be affected.
Zhang, who also heads the general office of a coordination team on tackling air pollution in Beijing and surrounding regions, said the efforts will help reduce emissions of major air pollutants by 40 percent in Beijing and 30 percent in other regions.
Zou Shoumin, an official with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, said drones, satellite images and media exposure will be used to ensure pollutant reduction targets are met.
Zou added that 15 ministry teams will inspect major polluting factories.
"Despite the efforts, there is still risk of smog in September as we usually experience gentle wind and high humidity," said Hao Jiming from the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
Hao called for even tougher control measures in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei. The industrial hub of Hebei is infamous for being the home of seven of the country's top 10 worst polluted cities.
Control measures over the past few years have yielded good results. In the first half of the year, the density of PM 2.5, airborne particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, fell 22.1 percent year on year in the Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei region.
Jiao Meiyan, deputy director of the China Meteorological Administration, said, should they be needed, the agency also had tougher control measures.
To ensure clean air, similar measures to those taken during the 2008 Olympic Games, and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings last year have been taken. Last November, Chinese netizens used the phrase "APEC Blue" to describe the clear blue sky in Beijing.
China has scheduled a series of events to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, culminating in the military parade in Beijing.
The parade will feature domestic and foreign troops, and China's latest weaponry. Receptions and a gala will be held in Beijing to mark the occasion. Events will also be staged in other parts of China.
Sept. 3 this year is a national holiday.
[Source: Xinhua, Beijing, 17Aug15]
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