China Takes Air Pollution More Seriously: $280 Billion Worth, Supposedly

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courtesy Bentley

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We cover China's air pollution problems with depressing frequency on Green Car Reports, but the country's pollution problems have until now been far more than token schemes are able to deal with.

That could change over the next few years, as the Chinese government pledges to invest $283 billion to tackle air pollution.

According to state newspaper The China Daily (via CBC News), the sum will go towards measures aimed at a "visible improvement" in the near-opaque air in many Chinese cities.

Beijing, nearby Tianjin and the Hebei province will be the main benefactors of the investment, equivalent to more than the total economic output of Hong Kong.

Several Chinese cities and locales have launched their own initiatives to curb pollution in recent months. The Hebei province and its capital Shijiazhuang recently introduced a lottery to buy cars in order to reduce the number of vehicles on its roads, while Beijing implemented a pollution tax and pledged to remove the most polluting vehicles from its roads.

The moves follow several months earlier this year of the worst pollution ever recorded, and mounting public frustration with the country's poor air quality.

As a rapidly developing nation, China has poured decades of effort into economic growth, with environmental concerns taking a back seat. That's now changing as several major cities sit cloaked in smog, with water pollution also a major concern.

The problem now is whether that money will truly reach projects aimed at cutting down on pollution, China's local governments not known for their transparency with such issues. How much of China's huge investment benefits the smog-choked people in the streets remains to be seen...

[Hat tip: Brian Henderson]

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