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China steel hub Hebei moves 2019 industrial capacity cutting targets forward

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The province has pledged to reduce the amount of air pollution, especially the amount of hazardous particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less, known as PM2.5, which can lodge deep in the lungs when inhaled.

[BEIJING] China's top steelmaking province of Hebei has moved up the target dates for cutting industrial capacity and relocating plants by two months to the end of October, the provincial environmental department said.

The province has pledged to reduce the amount of air pollution, especially the amount of hazardous particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less, known as PM2.5, which can lodge deep in the lungs when inhaled.

In the first six months of 2019, the average PM 2.5 concentration in Hebei was at the same level as last year at 58 micrograms per cubic metre, despite the extension of industrial production curbs.

The province has set a target of 53 micrograms per cubic metre for this year.

"There remains a relatively big gap for us to reach the annual air quality goal...so we decided to adopt more targeted and effective measures to control air pollution," the province said in the statement released on Friday.

Hebei earlier planned to eliminate steel capacity of 14 million tonnes, coal capacity of 10 million tonnes, coke capacity of 3 million tonnes and coal-fired power capacity of 500 megawatts by the end of 2019.

It also planned to shut down or move 19 high-emission industrial plants in steel, chemicals and pharmaceutical sectors by the year end.

"We used to conduct annual (anti-pollution) assessments in the end of year. But this time, we make clear that we should aim to get the tasks done as soon as possible," said Jiang Weining, an official at the atmospheric environment department at Hebei's ecology and environment bureau, in the statement.

The province also pushed forward the elimination of small coal-fired industrial boilers and ultra-low emission upgrades at steel mills.

All coke plants in the region are ordered to meet ultra-low emission standards by October 2019, while all steel mills will need to reach the target by 2020.

"We expect PM2.5 concentration in Hebei to lower by 4.46 micrograms per cubic metre if we fully implement the anti-pollution measures and bring the deadlines (of the tasks) forward, which will largely help us to meet the annual air quality targets," the statement said.

REUTERS