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Beijing to Spend $2.7B to Clean Air    01/19 06:17

   BEIJING (AP) -- Beijing will spend $2.7 billion to fight air pollution in 
the capital this year, state media reported Thursday.

   Part of the money will be used to close or upgrade more than 2,000 polluting 
factories, replace the use of coal with clean energy on the outskirts of the 
city and phase out 300,000 high-polluting older vehicles, the official Xinhua 
News Agency said, citing Beijing's acting mayor, Cai Qi.

   Authorities are eager to bring about a visible improvement in China's bad 
air, especially in the high-profile capital and its surrounding areas. Beijing 
has suffered some particularly bad bouts of hazardous air in the past few 
weeks, causing it to order some factories to temporarily close and 
schoolchildren to stay at home.

   China has made great efforts to reduce its dependence on coal and generate 
more power from cleaner sources of renewable energy. Directives made public 
this week from the National Energy Administration ordered the cancellation of 
around 100 planned coal-fired power plants across the country, the construction 
for some of which had already started.

   On Wednesday, authorities launched an environmental police squad tasked with 
rooting out illegal burning in Beijing.


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