CHINA is sending more than 5 million cars to the scrapheap this year as part of its efforts to clean up the country’s air.
The move is included in a State Council document detailing emission reduction targets for a range of industries.
In a wide-ranging action plan to cut emissions over the next two years, the State Council said the country had already fallen behind in its pollution targets over the 2011-2013 period and was now having to step up its efforts.
The cars to be taken off the roads include “yellow-label” vehicles and other old cars that fail to meet national emission standards.
Heibei Province, home to seven of China’s smoggiest cities, has been ordered to take 660,000 high-polluting vehicles off the streets.
The target for Beijing is 330,000 cars, and for Shanghai, 160,000.
More vehicles will be scrapped next year, including up to 5 million in the nation’s economically developed regions such as the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei regions, according to the State Council’s action plan.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection said cars that fail to meet minimum National I emission standards accounted for 7.8 percent of cars on China’s streets but generated more than 35 percent of the main air pollutants.
“Strengthening controls on vehicle emissions will be a major agenda item for the country’s energy savings, emissions reductions, and low-carbon development during the next two years,” according to the action plan.
A report from environmental authorities showed that 31.1 percent of air pollution in Beijing comes from vehicle exhaust emissions, Xinhua news agency said.
China reportedly removes only about 3 percent of high-emission vehicles each year, compared with 8 percent in developed countries.
But that 3 percent might be overstated. According to market research firm Ipsos, about 60 percent of cars written off in China make their way to rural and remote areas through black market sales.
Getting regions across the country to cooperate will be a major challenge for authorities.
Accelerating the elimination of highly polluting vehicles will help China hit several of its green targets for the next two years — including annual reductions of 3.9 percent in energy consumption per unit of economic output, 2 percent in emissions of sulfur dioxide and 5 percent in emissions of nitrogen oxides.
The government will also push forward other work such as cutting outdated production capacities, reducing coal consumption, and introducing green technologies.
Reports will be published monthly on how regions have carried out their work in energy savings, according to Xu Shaoshi, minister of China’s top planning body the National Development and Reform Commission.