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From courts and fines, China arms itself for difficult 'war on pollution'

Published on Jul 8, 2014 11:24 AM
 
This photo taken on July 3, 2014 2014 shows buildings through polluted skies in Beijing. Having declared "war on pollution", China is arming itself with tougher weapons from new courts to daily fines and shutting down offenders altogether, in what analysts call promising steps but no guarantee of progress. -- PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - Having declared "war on pollution", China is arming itself with tougher weapons from new courts to daily fines and shutting down offenders altogether, in what analysts call promising steps but no guarantee of progress.

For decades, China accepted the blight on the environment as the collateral damage of tremendous economic growth that raised the incomes of hundreds of millions of people - who now increasingly clamour for a better quality of life as well.

The acrid air, along with vast water and soil pollution, has not only afflicted the health and environment of the world's most populous country but also embarrassed the rising power as images of its capital smothered in smog scare off tourists and business.

In recent days levels of PM2.5, the smallest and most dangerous particulates, have at times been above 300 micrograms per cubic metre in Beijing, according to US embassy measurements - 12 times the World Health Organization's recommended maximum level.

 
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