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Beijing to cut smog with car pollution tax

Traffic is a huge contributor to smog in Beijing (file photo courtesy: Wikipedia)

Traffic is a huge contributor to smog in Beijing (file photo courtesy: Wikipedia)


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Monday, June 3, 2013, 1:52 -

Thick smog and poor air quality are persistent problems in China -- particularly in Beijing.

In February, Chinese officials had to scramble to impose emergency measures that would rid the city of a "super smog" that blanketed the region for the better part of a month, causing delays and cancellations for hundreds of flights due to poor visibility.

The city's air quality index regularly exceeds 500 micrograms per cubic metre of particulate matter (PM2.5) -- 25 times The World Health Organization's maximum daily recommendation of 20 micrograms. 

On January 12, 2013, the particulate level skyrocketed to 755 micrograms, setting a new record.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, levels higher than 300 micrograms per cubic meter are considered "hazardous."

Beijing authorities have announced their plans combat the rising smog by ordering tens of thousands of older cars off the road, while fast-tracking an initiative to grow as many trees as possible within the next five years.

On Thursday, local media reported that the city also plans to roll out a new auto pollution tax before the end of the year.

Beijing will be the first city in China to adopt the initiative, but there are plans to try the tax out in cities across the country.

Authorities warn that the price increase will be hefty.

Currently, motorists pay an average of 8 Yuan, or $1.35 CAD per litre.

With the new tax, the average price of gas per litre will rise to 10 Yuan, or $1.69 CAD per litre.

With files from Gasgoo.com

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