Beijing to apply stricter emission standard next month to combat smog

Beijing will enforce the National Emission Standard V – equivalent to Euro V – next month to reduce its worsening air pollution, the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau announced today.

The city still bans diesel vehicles under 3.5 tons in net weight because a diesel car emits 3.3 times more nitrogen oxides and other pollutants than a petrol-powered car of the same size.

A lightweight diesel car can be replaced by a petrol car in the same category, said Li Kunsheng, head of the bureau's emission management department.

Beijing will adopt the National Emission Standard VI before or after 2016. The city still needs time to decide the fate of lightweight diesel vehicles, Li said in the press conference.

Beijing was choked by hazardous smog from January 10 to 16 before a cold front brought some relief. However, the city's PM2.5 reading rebounded to serious levels today as smog shrouded the capital again.

The local weather bureau has issued a yellow smog alert, the third of a three-color warning system.

At 9am, PM2.5 readings at most of the downtown monitoring stations exceeded 300 micrograms per cubic meter, far exceeding the national limit of 75 micrograms, according to the Beijing Environmental Monitoring Center.

A thick cloud of airborne particles was spotted moving from the southeast into Beijing yesterday afternoon and covered the whole city this morning, the center said.
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