Urumqi to invest heavily to cut air pollution

Updated: 2012-02-15 13:43


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URUMQI - China's northwestern city of Urumqi, one of the country's badly polluted cities in winter, plans to invest 4.45 billion yuan ($712 million) this year to curb air pollution.

The money will fund 16 projects which include a major overhaul of the city's heating system -- especially the demolition of 5,000 small coal-firing furnaces for winter heating -- and improving air emission treatment for 30 big polluting factories, according to a proposed budget submitted for approval at the ongoing local congressional meeting.

Severe winter air pollution in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, is mainly caused by energy-heavy industries and the outdated coal-firing winter heating system, officials have said.

The government has set a five-year target of 82 percent of the days in a year to have little pollution, compared with 75.62 percent in 2011, Zhu Hailun, a top official of Urumqi, told the congressional meeting.

Zhu, secretary of the Urumqi municipal committee of the Communist Party of China, said the authorities would prioritize environment protection in the city's development and take serious measures to cut pollution.