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Industrial, energy mix key smog causes: minister


15:25, June 04, 2013

BEIJING, June 4 (Xinhua) -- China's Environment Minister Zhou Shengxian has cited industrial restructuring and adjusting the country's energy mix as key to addressing air pollution.

Zhou made the remarks on Tuesday in an exclusive interview with Xinhua, ahead of World Environment Day, which falls on June 5.

He acknowledged that China's atmospheric environment faces grave challenges. Pollution from coal burning has not yet been tamed; regional air pollution by PM 2.5, tiny pollutant particles, has increasingly become an outstanding problem, and air quality in many cities has worsened precipitously.

The resource and environmental conflicts that developed nations have encountered for a century have surfaced in China overnight, Zhou said.

He pointed out that China's industrial pattern characterized by high energy consumption and pollution yet low efficiency and output has not yet been altered, and the industrial mix skews toward heavy industry.

"We must look to economic restructuring to solve air pollution," the environment minister said.

Meanwhile, efforts should be made to shift the energy mix, including capping total consumption of coal, developing clean energy and clean uses of coal.

For instance, he said, efforts should be made to phase out small coal-burning furnaces, retrofitting desulfurization and denitration facilities, and managing cook-generated smoke.

"Automobiles have also become big sources of air pollution, and they contribute 20 to 25 percent of PM 2.5 in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai," according to Zhou.

He suggested regulating the number of cars in big cities, replacing heavily polluting cars and lowering sulfur contents in gasoline.

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