Furniture manufacturing among industries targeted by Beijing mandate to reduce production in bid to improve city's air quality; traditional industries have shrunk to 20% of Beijing's GDP, but industrial emissions remain a major concern

, May 15, 2014 () – Beijing to force 300 polluting companies to quit capital in bid to improve air quality

The 300 enterprises are mainly involved in industries such as construction material, casting, chemical products and furniture manufacturing. According to Zheng Zaihong, an official from the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB), Beijing will continue reducing production of cement in 2014 and oil refining capacity will be controlled. The city government will also classify a category of industries that will be further forced out of China's capital due to pollution issues. "We are establishing a compensation mechanism for these companies and a reward program to encourage enterprises to invest more in environmentally friendly products," Zheng said.

Despite its efforts to curb pollution, the EPB said in an earlier report that the quality of the capital's environment in 2013 remained almost the same as that of the previous year.The report shows that Beijing's average PM2.5 (airborne particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter) index stood at 89.5 micrograms per cubic meter in 2013, exceeding the new national standard for fine air by 156 percent.The average index of nitrogen dioxide and PM10 were 56 and 108.1 micrograms per cubic meter, exceeding the national standards by 40 and 54 percent respectively. The daily maximum eight-hour average ozone concentration exceeded the standard by 14.6 percent."After a series of measures to improve industrial structure and to curb pollution, traditional industries now account for less than 20 percent of the city's total GDP. However, industrial emissions remain one of the major sources of PM2.5 in Beijing and there is a big gap between what we have achieved and the public's expectation," Zheng said.

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