BEIJING (REUTERS) - Manufacturers of furniture, petrochemicals, automobiles and electronics in Beijing will start paying fees in October for emitting volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a source of air pollution, the Xinhua state news agency said on Tuesday (Sept 15).
Pollution has triggered increasing unease in China, where smog blankets many major cities, including Beijing, home to 21 million people.
The polluters will be charged 10 yuan (S$2.2) per kg of discharged gas if their VOC emissions do not exceed 50 per cent of the city's limit, Xinhua said, citing Wang Chunlin, director of pollution prevention and control with Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.
Entities whose emissions are higher than half of the limit but do not exceed the standards will be charged 20 yuan per kg. Polluters whose VOCs emissions pass the limits will pay 40 yuan per kg.
The fees are higher than the treatment cost for polluters, so it "will stimulate polluters to adopt cleaner methods", Xinhua quoted Wang as saying.
The government has launched a war on pollution, vowing to abandon a decades-old economic model of growth at all costs that has damaged the water, air and soil.
Vehicle emissions, the use of solvents, storage and transport of gasoline may generate VOCs, which can form hazardous, breathable particles known as PM2.5 following chemical reactions in the atmosphere, Xinhua said.
PM 2.5, which refers to particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, leads to hazardous smog that is a major cause of asthma and respiratory diseases, experts say.
Lung cancer rates are rising in Beijing, say health officials, with the capital ranked among the world's most polluted cities.