03:42 GMT +322 October 2019
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    A woman waits for a bus below a skyscraper shrouded in smog on a heavily polluted day in Beijing on December 1, 2015.

    Beijing to Spend $2.5Bln to Curb Environmental Pollution in 2016

    © AFP 2019 / GREG BAKER
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    Officials in the Chinese capital of Beijing plan to spend the equivalent of $2.5 billion this year to tackle environmental pollution, national media reported Sunday.

    BEIJING (Sputnik) – Plans in 2016 also include reducing the amount of particulate matter in air that reduces visibility — PM2.5 — by 5 percent, according to the Xinhua news service.

    Over the past five years, the Chinese capital addressed the problem by shutting down 1,006 polluting firms. Bejing Mayor Wang Anshun was quoted as saying Friday the municipal government has closed 228 marketplaces and rejected over 13,000 applications to establish new businesses over that period.

    Up to 2,500 enterprises are anticipated to be closed in 2016 under Beijing's environmental program. The municipality plans to reduce coal consumption for heating this year by 500,000 metric tons, and shut down coal plants by 2020.

    China remains the world's largest source of carbon emissions and air pollution, with air quality in major cities far below international standards.

    Last month, Beijing issued at least two "red alert" warnings with heavy smog due to a high concentration of PM2.5 associated with China's extensive use of coal power. The particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and cause asthma, bronchitis and exacerbate other acute respiratory diseases leading to premature death.

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    ecology, pollution, Wang Anshun, China, Beijing
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