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Chinese government to city bosses: clean the air

Smog shrouded buildings in Zhengzhou, China in January. The smog cleared for three weeks in July when the city took drastic measures to clear its air. (FENG LEI/Xinhua/Landov)

Beijing has a blunt message for mayors in China: Clean up your air.

Liu Qin reports for Chinadialogue that mayors have been “summoned” to the Ministry of Environmental Protection for tense, face-to-face conversations about urban air pollution. The get-tough approach has led to some noticeable decreases in smog levels, the article says.

Mayors and their deputies from about ten cities have been asked to explain why they are failing to make progress. “With demands for swift and decisive action ringing in their ears, municipal leaders have responded by ordering drastic measures,” she writes. These include limits on vehicle use, construction and the burning of coal, along with factory closures.

The turnaround in Zhengzhou was nothing short of dramatic, Chinadialogue says. After pollution reached dangerous levels in the first half of the year, the city marked significant improvement over three weeks in July. The fresher air was the result of measures implemented after a meeting with Beijing officials. 


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