City cracks down on polluting vehicles
Heavy diesel vehicles will be banned and ports and construction sites within Shanghai's Outer Ring Road and at Hongqiao International Airport by October next year as Shanghai pursues its strategy of becoming one of the world's greenest cities.
As part of the city's successful long-established strategy to cut air pollution, the crackdown will begin in October, Shou Ziqi, director of Shanghai Bureau of Ecology and Environment, said on Saturday.
According to a report by the bureau, the average density of Shanghai’s major air pollutant, PM2.5 particles, was 36 micrograms per cubic meter in 2018 — a 7.7 percent drop from the previous year.
The average densities of other air pollutants such as PM10, SO2 and NO2 all hit new lows last year after air quality standards were introduced in 2013.
Also, for the first time, Shanghai’s air quality was rated as excellent or good on more than 80 percent of days last year.
“We still have work to do as the figure of 36 micrograms per cubic meter has not met the national standard of 35 yet,” said Shou.
“We also face other problems including ozone pollution. The authorities have already taken many anti-air pollution measures we could think of over the past few years.
"So, it will now be even more difficult if we want to achieve further improvements.”
Shou said citizens’ environmental protection awareness, including choosing public transport over than driving their own cars, will play a crucial part in Shanghai’s anti-pollution work.
“We will also encourage the improvement of fuel quality, and speed up the upgrade of boilers in the downtown area," Shou said.
"Manufacturers will also be required to improve their raw materials to cut volatile organic compounds discharge.
“People often say that the economy is developed at the expense of the environment, which is not necessarily always true.
“For example, environmental protection requirements will create a fair competition platform for enterprises, as companies have to make certain investment in purchasing anti-pollution equipment.
"If we don’t have such requirements, some companies will cut costs to compete against their opponents, causing more pollution.”
The Shanghai Bureau of Ecology and Environment used to be called Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau. The new name was given since earlier this year, and with that came new responsibilities.
These include the supervision of farmland environment and underground water quality.
Shou said the bureau now plays a leading role in Shanghai’s ecological environment improvement works, including law enforcement.
The bureau will also supervise the treatment of hazardous garbage when Shanghai applies its compulsory garbage classification policy in July.
“Batteries, fluorescent tubes, paint buckets, camera film and expired drugs are all hazardous garbage," Shou said.
"They will be further classified after being collected from neighborhoods and sent to institutes and companies that have dealing abilities."