It seems the days when we can all breathe a little easier may not be too far away. In the latest environmental protection plan released on the official website for the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau (SEPB) it was advised that there will be an increase in their efforts to lower air pollution in the city.
SEPB is now seeking public opinion for its Three-Year Plan for Environmental Protection and Establishment (2018-2020), which is also the seventh environmental protection project put forward by Shanghai.
According to the plan, Shanghai will have to hold an AQI (Air Quality Index) below 100 for 80 percent of the days in one year (equaling 292 days), and eradicate heavily polluted days (AQI higher than 200) by 2020. This requirement is even more rigorous than what Shanghai achieved in 2014, when 77 percent of days had the AQI under control (271 days) and only 4 days were heavily polluted.
The SEPB also has plans for the annual average density of PM2.5, which is requested to be held below 40 micrograms per cubic meter in 3 years. Given Shanghai’s past performance (reaching 51 micrograms in 2015 and dropping to 45 micrograms in 2016), the target seems quite promising.
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To meet these targets, Shanghai will introduce approximately 250 new projects from nine fields, including water, air, soil, ecology and industry.
Taking ecology as an example, by the end of 2020, the forest coverage is required to reach 18 percent, and per capita park green areas is demanded to amount to 8.5 square meters. The current forest coverage of Shanghai is 15 percent and the present per capita park green areas 7.82 square meters. So again, it seems these targets are achievable.
Moreover, Shanghai will reduce the usage of coal in industries like steel, petroleum and chemicals. By the year 2020, the city’s total coal consumption will be cut down by 5 percent compared with that of 2015. In addition, over 150,000 green vehicles will be promoted around the city to lower the harmful impact on the environment.
Although the plans might still be altered based on the opinions from the government and community, we still extend our gratitude to SEPB for the effort they have made to improve the air quality in Shanghai.