A women wearing the mask rides a bicycle on the street during severe pollution on January 23, 2013 in Beijing, China. Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images
In response to heightened criticism of the country’s pollution problems, the Chinese government released a plan Thursday to curb air pollution by setting limits on coal burning and restricting the use of high-polluting vehicles on the road. The plan would also ban coal-fired power plants in regions surrounding Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The New York Times reported that this was the Chinese government’s most concrete response yet. Last winter, the concentration of fine particulate matter in Beijing — the thick haze covering the city’s skyline — reached 40 times the exposure limit recommended by the World Health Organization. China’s pollution problem has been growing for the past few years, as it became the world’s biggest coal consumer.
Thursday, the level of pollution reached levels that were rated “very unhealthy” with a PM 2.5 concentration. Also, The Wall Street Journal talked to Greenpeace’s Li Yan on what changes to expect from the plan’s rollout.