China urges public to walk, ride bikes to help cut smog

A woman wearing a mask stands beside her bicycle at a traffic junction in Beijing amid thick haze on Feb 25, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
A woman wearing a mask stands beside her bicycle at a traffic junction in Beijing amid thick haze on Feb 25, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China has issued a "behavioural standards" guide to combat pollution and reduce environmental damage, urging people to do everything from walking and riding bicycles to buying goods with less packaging.

The Chinese government has identified public participation as a key element in its efforts to reverse some of the environmental damage done by more than three decades of breakneck economic growth.

The list of eight standards, published on the environment ministry's website (www.mep.gov.cn) on Wednesday, urged citizens to refrain from burning garbage, and limit the use of fireworks and barbecues.

It also urged the public to take responsibility for pollution by reporting illegal behaviour to the authorities.

Amendments to the country's Environmental Protection Law, passed on April, made it an obligation for all Chinese citizens to protect the environment.

A local government study showed in April that 31 per cent of the smog in China's capital Beijing is derived from vehicles, 22.4 per cent from coal burning and 18.1 per cent from industry.

Beijing's environmental bureau said 14.1 per cent was made up of other smaller sources like food preparation, livestock rearing and vehicle repairs.