Beijing courtyard residents bid farewell to coal heaters

08:45, November 15, 2009      

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Another 80,000 households in the ancient courtyards in downtown Beijing have bid farewell to coal heating this winter, a power company said Saturday.

The households in the historic and cultural sites have replaced the polluting coal stoves with electric heaters, the Beijing Electric Power Company said.

This marked the end of a seven-year program to eliminate coal furnaces at 160,000 homes in 19 historic and cultural sites in downtown Beijing.

The company said it has invested 8.8 billion yuan (1.3 billion U.S. dollars) to upgrade the power grid in the ancient courtyard areas.

Liu Wei, an official from the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, said the move could help to reduce sulfur dioxide emission by 190 tonnes and carbon monoxide emission by 10,000 tonnes in the heating season that ends on March 15 next year.

In recent years, Beijing has taken a spate of measures, including relocating polluting companies, shutting down small coal-fired boilers or converting them to use natural gas, to clean the air in the winter season.

Air quality in Beijing this year has been at the best level in a decade, the city's environment authorities said in September.

Source: Xinhua
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