Another Chinese city shuts down construction over pollution fears

A month after authorities in Beijing decided to ban most construction over the winter to cut pollution in the Chinese capital, another city has followed suit.

Jinan City (pictured), capital of northeast coastal Shandong Province and home to more than 7 million people, will close most construction sites until further notice, the city’s Urban and Rural Construction Committee has decreed.

A school playground stands empty as outdoor play is forbidden due to pollution in Jinan, Shandong Province, November 2015 (Xinhua/Xu Suhui)

North China is under intense pressure to meet clean air targets, particularly in winter when residential coal-burning heating systems are switched on starting in mid-November, state news agency Xinhua reports.

Authorities said only some construction sites will be spared the winter ban, including the city’s ongoing subway project.

Last month China ruled that 28 cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region must use only natural gas, electricity and renewable energy for heating, not coal.

Jinan in clearer times in 2005 (Wikimedia Commons)

But other northern regions still burn poor quality coal to keep warm because it is less expensive, reports Xinhua.

Coal accounts for more than 60% of China’s primary energy consumption, much higher than the world average.

In the north the ratio is around 80%.

Top image: Smog over Jinan’s Quancheng (Spring City) Square (Xinhua)

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