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Chinese capital bans winter construction to improve air quality

by Reuters
Sunday, 17 September 2017 09:05 GMT

Construction sites and buildings are pictured amid heavy smog, on the third day after China's capital Beijing issued its second ever "red alert" for air pollution, in Beijing, China, December 21, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Lee

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Construction of major public projects will be banned in Beijing from November to March in China's "war on pollution"

(Removes reference to 'last year' in para 7; the high smog occurred in January and February this year)

BEIJING, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Beijing will suspend construction of major public projects in the city this winter in an effort to improve the capital's notorious air quality, official media said on Sunday, citing the municipal commission of housing and urban-rural development.

All construction of road and water projects, as well as demolition of housing, will be banned from Nov. 15 to March 15 within the city's six major districts and surrounding suburbs, said the Xinhua report.

The period spans the four months when heating is supplied to the city's housing and other buildings.

China is in the fourth year of a "war on pollution" designed to reverse the damage done by decades of untrammelled economic growth and allay concerns that hazardous smog and widespread water and soil contamination are causing hundreds of thousands of early deaths every year.

Beijing has promised to impose tough industrial and traffic curbs across the north of the country this winter in a bid to meet key smog targets.

In the capital, it is aiming to reduce airborne particles known as PM2.5 by more than a quarter from their 2012 levels and bring average concentrations down to 60 micrograms per cubic metre.

The city experienced near record-high smog in January and February, which the government blamed on "unfavourable weather conditions"

Some 'major livelihood projects' such as railways, airports and affordable housing may be continued however, providing they are approved by the commission, said the report.

It added that the government will step up supervision of dust control on city construction sites and implement restrictions on use of machinery with high emissions. Violations of the new rules will be strictly punished, it added. (Reporting by Dominique Patton; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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