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Buildings are seen on a hazy day in Xiangyang, Hubei province, China. VOA

Chinese authorities should not arbitrarily shut down firms that meet emission standards during environmental cleanup campaigns, Vice Premier Han Zheng said on Wednesday.

Beijing has made reducing pollution one of its highest national priorities, but the drive has been criticized as poorly planned at the local level, with across-the-board closures of industrial plants in some regions ensnaring even compliant companies.


Xinhua news agency quoted Han as saying that measures in the battle against pollution should be realistic and sustainable, though environmental protection policies should be strictly enforced to deter companies that violate the rules.


Smoke billows from chimneys of the cooling towers of a coal-fired power plant in Dadong, Shanxi province, China. VOA

He was speaking at a meeting on a plan to tackle pollution in and around the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region during the winter, when smog often blankets northern part of the country.

The Ministry of Ecology and Environment said in May that the country would end a “one size fits all” approach to fighting pollution as it tries to devise more nuanced policies that match local conditions and minimize economic disruption.

Also Read: Air Pollution Not Fatal But Could Reduce Life Expectancy By A Year

A plan to switch millions of households and thousands of businesses from coal to natural gas in north China last winter backfired as severe gas shortages hit the region. “Steadily promote clean winter heating in North China, and ensure people are safe and warm,” Han said. (VOA)


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VOA

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Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Killer Smog in Delhi.

Developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, a Decision Support System (DSS) that extends the ability of the existing air quality early warning system (AQEWS) to have decision-making capability for air quality management in Delhi-NCR was launched on Tuesday.

The website for the DSS (https://ews.tropmet.res.in/dss/) is designed to help the Commission for Air Quality Management for NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) by delivering quantitative information about the contribution of emissions from Delhi and its 19 surrounding districts; the contribution of emissions from eight different sectors in Delhi; and the contribution from biomass-burning activities in the neighbouring states.

These information would assist in managing the air quality in a timely manner, a release from the Ministry of Earth Sciences said.

The need was stated by the CAQM, which was formed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, during a meeting held in January 2021.

Recently, the Commission reviewed the progress made by IITM and had in principle approved the current version of DSS for air quality management in the Delhi-NCR. The IITM has also developed a new website for DSS with the entire system made operational, the release said.

Union Minister of State for Earth Sciences, Jitendra Singh, while launching the website for AQEWS on the occasion of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' week organised by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said, "DSS is a significant contribution to 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' on behalf of MoES and IITM and suggestions are invited on this issue."

The website also has a feature whereby the users can create their own emission reduction scenarios (from 20 different districts, including Delhi) so as to examine the possible projected improvement in air quality in Delhi for the next five days.

"This information would explicitly highlight the most important emission sources responsible for the degradation of air quality in Delhi and suggest possible solutions to ameliorate the same. With a plethora of quantitative data, the AQEWS integrated with DSS could become a user-friendly tool for air-quality management in and around Delhi," the release said. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Delhi, India, Pollution, IITM, Ministry of Earth Sciences