Beijing business leaders call for clean air act

By Ed King

Beijing business leaders are calling for China’s government to pass a Clean Air Act after another day of choking smog hit the capital.

Visibility was down to 200 metres in parts of the city, closing roads and forcing 20 flights to be cancelled, stranding 2000 travellers at the international airport.

Pan Shiyi, Chairman of SOHO China, the largest prime office real estate developer in the country, opened a poll on his Weibo account – China’s twitter – asking followers to vote on whether they wanted a clean air policy to deal with the smog.

As of 1410 GMT on Tuesday afternoon, 32758 (99.8%) support this idea, 246 (0.7%) oppose it, while 131 (0.4%) have no idea.

Terry Townshend from Globe International sent us this picture from his Beijing office

This is the fourth time since the start of January that Beijing has been hit by severe air pollution. Local news agency Xinhua report doctors have treated 9,000 children this month for respiratory illnesses.

The government has responded by temporarily closing 103 factories, while Mayor Wang Anshun has promised to remove polluting vehicles from the roads.

An additional problem is four huge coal-fired power stations in the city suburbs, which generate 2.7 GW. These are due to switch over to natural-gas combined heat and power (CHP) systems by the end of 2014.

China does have a Clean Air Act, but it has been “stuck” in the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council for 12 years.

The law of the People’s Republic of China on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution was enacted in 1987.

Revised in 1995 and 2000, it is currently being looked at for a third time.

Chuan Zhao, Environmental Reporter for 21st Century Business Herald told RTCC the Ministry of Environmental Protection has submitted a draft to the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council.

He added: ““The situation is really quite bad now. We need the govt to make some urgent action. I need put mask on everyday when I am out. I am being swallowed by the smelly and dirty air. ”

The UK’s Clean Air Act of 1956 was partly in response to a dense smog that hit London in 1952, killing several thousand people.

Scientists established later that the water droplets in the fog were nearly as acidic as water in a car battery.

RTCC Video: Li Junfeng head of China’s National Center for Climate Change says technology transfer is the key to curbing its spiralling carbon emissions

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