The capital city of China’s Shanxi province, Taiyuan, has now largely banned the sale, use, and transport of coal in a bid to reduce local air pollution problems, according to the country’s state news agency, Xinhua.
The word “largely” was used because the ban doesn’t affect the province’s large steel production plants or power plants — everyone else, though, is now expected to essentially do without the energy-dense fossil fuel. The ban applies to individuals as well as to companies.
The ban, according to Xinhua, is expected to slash coal consumption in the city by 90% — equating to a cut of around 2 million tonnes of use a year.
“China has ordered Beijing and nearby provinces, including Shanxi, to limit concentrations of airborne pollutants and meet key smog targets in more than two dozen cities starting this month and lasting until March. That period is when air pollution typically increases as more coal is burned to provide heat during the winter,” Reuters reports.
“Coal is the biggest source of air pollution in Taiyuan in winter, Xinhua quoted Dou Lifen, head of the city’s environmental protection bureau, as saying. The city was replacing coal-burning household heating equipment with electric and natural gas heaters, Xinhua said.”
The city is reportedly expecting that the new ban will reduce the number of days featuring “heavy air pollution” to 22 — making for a roughly 40% reduction from 2016 figures. Those are official expectations, though — we’ll of course have to wait to see how things play out in practice. The ban will no doubt help somewhat, though.