Beijing bans winter construction to cut pollution

Construction workers in the huge Chinese capital of Beijing will get a long winter holiday this year after authorities said some major projects would be suspended for four months to improve air quality.

Work on roads, water projects, and the demolition of housing cannot take place between mid-November and mid-March within the city’s six major districts and surrounding suburbs, official media said on Sunday, citing Beijing’s municipal commission of housing and urban-rural development.

Anyone breaking this unprecedented rule in the city of 21.5 million would be "strictly punished", the body warned.

Some major projects crucial to people’s livelihoods such as railways, airports and affordable housing may continue, the report said.

It added that the government will step up supervision of dust control on city construction sites and implement restrictions on use of machinery with high emissions.

The suspension period covers the "heating season", when central heating is supplied to the city’s homes and other buildings.

China’s "war on pollution" is now in its fourth year, and Beijing has promised to apply tough industrial and traffic curbs in the north of the country to meet smog-busting targets.

The capital is aiming to reduce airborne particles known as PM2.5 by more than a quarter from their 2012 levels and bring average concentration down to 60 micrograms per cubic meter, reports state broadcaster, CGTN.

Image: Smog in Beijing during the "heating season", February 2013 (Wikimedia Commons)

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