left corner left corner
China Daily Website  

Beijing plans to list smog as a meteorological disaster

Updated: 2016-05-27 07:36
By Zheng Jinran (China Daily)

Beijing included smog as a meteorological disaster in its draft of a new prevention and control regulation that was under review on Thursday.

Listing smog in the regulation would require the capital to improve urban planning - including better design of green zones and corridors - to reduce damage from smog.

Liu Zhengang, chief of the Beijing Legal Affairs Office, said on Thursday that it's appropriate to make the inclusion since smog and its negative effects have grown into a major concern for the government and public.

Neighboring Tianjin and Hebei province have already listed smog in their regulations, so Beijing should take the same step to better coordinate air-pollution control, he said.

Nationally, the State Council has yet to list smog as a meteorological disaster.

The draft of the Beijing Meteorological Disasters Prevention and Control Regulation defines a meteorological disaster as damage mainly caused by haze, torrential rains, blizzards, sandstorms, drought or freezing conditions.

To reduce damage from smog and improve air quality, the municipal government needs better urban planning, like rearranging green zones, rivers and roads, and building corridors to disperse air pollutants, the draft said.

The Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said the capital had a 46 percent reduction in the concentration of PM2.5, fine particulate matter that poses health risks, in 2015, compared with 2013.

But the concentration still exceeded the national health standard by 1.3 times last year, and residents saw 46 days of hazardous pollution.

Liu said the capital has been prone to meteorological disasters, which can cause huge economic losses accounting for 1 to 3 percent of GDP.

"About 70 percent of the natural issues hitting the capital were meteorological ones," said Zhou Heping, deputy director in charge of rural affairs of the Standing Committee of Beijing Municipal People's Congress.

Research by the congress showed that from 2001 to 2014, meteorological disasters caused 111 deaths and 22.5 billion yuan ($3.43 billion) in direct economic losses.

These disasters are intertwined with urban problems like traffic congestion and pollution.

They have become thorny problems for the city, Zhou added.

  • Group a building block for Africa

    An unusually heavy downpour hit Durban for two days before the BRICS summit's debut on African soil, but interest for a better platform for emerging markets were still sparked at the summit.