Beijing to tackle biomass burning and introduce environmental police force to combat air pollution

Beijing will strengthen environmental protection in 2017 by organizing an environmental police force to step up supervision and accountability in its 16 districts, according to acting mayor Cai Qi.

"Open-air barbecues, garbage incineration, biomass burning, dust from roads -- these acts of non-compliance with regulations are actually the result of lax supervision and weak law enforcement," said Cai at a meeting with press and citizens after a spell of smog lasting more than a week in the city.

Cai said the city government will take tougher measures to tackle air pollution in the new year.

The city's only coal-fired power plant will be closed until after the heating season. Coal consumption will be cut by 30 percent to less than 7 million tonnes in 2017.

Another 300,000 high-polluting old vehicles will be phased out in 2017. Cleaner gas and diesel will be put into use starting February 15.

Additionally, 500 manufacturing and polluting factories will be closed, while another 2,560 will be upgraded to meet higher pollution treatment standards.

Cai said the city will also build closer ties with neighbuoring Hebei Province and Tianjin Municipality in fighting air pollution.

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