Tianjin in China to expand coal-free area
North China’s Tianjin Municipality will expand its coal-free area as heating season approaches to improve air quality, authorities said Wednesday. According to the Tianjin municipal government, the coal-free area will be expanded to over 3,900 square km, covering more than 30 percent of the city’s total area. The coal-free area was previously 830 square km. High-pollution fuels, including coal and related products, petroleum cake, oil shale, crude oil, heavy oil, residual oil and coal tar, will be banned in the coal-free area. Construction projects using these high-pollution fuels will all be banned, and any violation will be punished. Facilities run by government agencies, public institutions and businesses that burn high-pollution fuels should be dismantled or switch to cleaner fuels. All homes should replace coal with clean energy such as electricity, natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas. Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng last month stressed the use of clean energy for winter heating in the country’s northern regions. Cities in northern China have been plagued by smog in recent years, particularly during the winter. The government has intensified efforts to promote the use of clean energy. By the end of October 2018, a total of 3.62 million additional households in Beijing, Tianjin and 26 other cities in nearby regions will have had their coal-fired heating systems converted, according to an official plan released in September.