Zhengzhou adopts carrot and stick policy to combat air pollution

One of the most polluted cities in central China has announced a bonus and penalty scheme in its fight against air pollution, putting a price tag for 1 microgram of PM2.5 -- hazardous particulate matter with diameter of less than 2.5 microns -- at 500,000 yuan ($77,000).

Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province, set the goal of reducing PM2.5 and PM10 particles per cubic meter to 85 and 157 micrograms at most last year. But the city was constantly ranked among the top 10 most polluted out of 74 monitored in China.

For 2016, Zhengzhou aims to further cut PM2.5 and PM10 particles per cubic meter to 79 and 150 micrograms, a local newspaper reported.

Counties and cities under the administration of Zhengzhou are urged to meet this target.

They will be offered a bonus of 500,000 yuan for the additional cut of one microgram per cubic meter and a fine of 500,000 yuan as a penalty for surpassing the desired target.

The city also said regions that keep hitting the bottom for three months in a row would have to suspend all construction projects expect those designed to cope with air pollution.

Zhengzhou vows to continue its Blue Sky Project by upgrading companies using coal-fired boilers and relocating a beer company. The city also bans new opening of industries and enterprises that are energy intensive or highly polluting to reduce emissions.

The annual safe level of PM10 and PM2.5 particles, according to national standards, is 70 and 35 micrograms, respectively.


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