HEBEI, January 13, China.org.cn -- Hebei is to meter central heating and charge for it based on the quantity each household uses, aiming to help improve the province's air quality.
A woman crosses a street in smog in the county seat of Pingquan, north China's Hebei Province, Oct. 6, 2015. [File photo/Xinhua]
This is one of Hebei's newly added regulations on the prevention and control of environmental pollution, which are under discussion and will be voted on for final approval on Wednesday.
The aim of the policy is to help enhance central heating efficiency and reduce energy consumption for heating.
According to the regulation, households that have access to central heating are not allowed to build individual coal-fired heating facilities.
Individual coal-fired heating facilities - small or medium-sized - which already exist will be torn down if central heating is available to their owners.
But in Hebei, only citizens living in residential buildings have access to central heating systems, while most residents in rural areas, who live in separate houses, use individual small coal-fired boilers or stoves to heat rooms.
For villagers, the regulation specifies that the province will encourage them to use clean energy such as solar energy, electricity, gas, and methane for heating in winter.
Clean coal and boilers, which are environmentally-friendly compared with high-polluting coal and boilers or stoves, will also be promoted.
Villagers will be banned from burning inferior coal or coal with high sulfur content from now on.
In seriously-polluted cities in Hebei, the coal-burning in individual coal-fired boilers is one of the main sources of pollutants, especially in winter.
For Baoding, a severely polluted city in Hebei, the contribution of coal burning takes up 35.1 percent during heating season, on top of the list of pollutant sources.
"The most serious pollution source for Baoding is coal-burning," Feng Haibo, president of Hebei Provincial Academy of Environmental Sciences, was quoted as saying by Yanzhao Metropolis Daily.
"Most of the residents in more than a hundred of the villages in Baoding use individual small coal-fired boilers, which result in very serious air pollution, " Feng said.
He said it's hard to calculate how many pollutants are emitted from the existing individual boilers or stoves in villages, but it can certainly help improve air quality after the government implements these regulations for promoting central heating and curbing coal-burning.
Although coal-burning is the prime source of pollution in Baoding, the government should carry out multiple measures for controlling various sources such as dust, vehicle exhaust, and industrial pollution.