China sets tougher new targets to improve its notoriously toxic air

  • China will set more stringent targets for improving the nation's air quality under a new three-year plan.
  • The new target for concentrations of small, breathable particles known as PM2.5 will be lower than those set in the country's current five-year plan that ends in 2020, said environment minister Li Ganjie.
Buildings are seen in heavy smog in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China.
Buildings are seen in heavy smog in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China.

China will set more stringent targets for improving the nation's air quality under a new three-year plan, environment minister Li Ganjie said at a briefing on Saturday, as the world's second largest economy aims to clear its notoriously toxic air.

The new target for concentrations of small, breathable particles known as PM2.5 will be lower than those set in the country's current five-year plan that ends in 2020, he said.

In January, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said it was drawing up plans for tougher curbs on smog during the next three years to 2020 after a five-year crackdown on pollution helped it attain air quality targets in December.

Li declined to give further details of the new goals as they are still being worked out.

By the end of 2017, the country had already cut PM2.5 concentrations by around 15.8 percent, not far from the target of reducing them by 18 percent by 2020.

"So we will set a lower target for the new three-year plan," he said.