Toxic smog, an unpleasant side effect of China's industrial revolution, has been directly linked to high lung cancer rates in affected regions

Beijing to ban coal to fight pollution

Chinese authorities are stepping up their battle to get damaging air pollution in the country’s capital under control with a plan to ban use of coal by 2020.

According to a proposal put forward by the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, the ban will affect six of its main districts.

The bureau foresees that power plants, and other facilities using coal in the Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai and Shijingshan districts will either have to stop using coal and coal products or face closure.

Together with coal, other fossil fuels, such as fuel oil, petroleum coke, combustible waste and some biomass-based fuels will also be prohibited as part of the effort to fight pollution, said Chinese state-owned news agency Xinhua.

Toxic air pollution, plaguing Beijing and other industrial areas in China in the past decades, is an unpleasant side effect of the country's massive industrial growth. In recent years, it has been directly linked to high rates of lung cancer in the affected regions.  

In 2012, coal made up one-quarter of the Beijing's total energy consumption, Xinhua quoted official statistics as saying.

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