Written By: Jim Greenberg
Liaoning Province, in northern China, has fined eight cities a total of 54 million yuan ($9 million) for generating dangerous levels of air pollution. Revenue from the fines will be invested into projects aimed at improving China’s air quality.
Atmospheric particular matter known as PM 2.5, which reached dangerous levels of over 300 micrograms per cubic meter in Northern China in October, has again reached dangerous levels this week, particularly in Shanghai, where levels reached 602.5 micrograms per cubic meter. At such high levels, authorities have warned senior citizens and schoolchildren to stay indoors. Others wanting to leave their homes have been advised to wear a mask at all times.
Since October, the Environmental Protection Authority of Liaoning has been monitoring the air quality of its cities. By maintaining a pollution index that measures the province’s levels of inhalable particles, including nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide, fines have been issued to cities responsible for exceeding the standard, set, level of pollution in October.
Shanyang, the capital city of Liaoning, received the highest fine, for approximately 60% of the total, and is expected to pay more than 34 million yuan ($5.6 million). Seven other cities, including Dalian and Anshan, have been fined 19.6 million yuan.
According to Zhu Jinghai, head of the provincial department of environment protection, the fines will be spent on projects focused on reducing air pollution.
In a further effort to curb China’s air pollution, the county has extended its pilot carbon-trading plans from the southeast city of Shenzhen to Beijing and Shanghai. As a result, major emitters of greenhouse gases operating in those areas will be fined if they exceed their emissions limits.