Guangzhou to Tax Construction Sites emitting too much dustPosted: 04/18/2014 7:45 am
Taxing heavy polluters and coal-fired plants are common solutions to tackling China’s worsening air quality. Guangzhou, however, has opted to focus on a more unusual pollutant – flying dust.
Guangzhou Daily reported on April 17 that the city plans to levy a tax for excessive dust stirred up at construction sites. The policy will be introduced this August as part of Guangdong Province’s new fiscal measures to curb PM 2.5 emissions. The province vowed to lower its annual PM 2.5 concentration 15% by 2017.
Dust particles have become the latest subjects of taxation following research which demonstrated that they constitute 21% of the city’s total PM 2.5 emissions. Dust is a type of particulate matter, and when these particulates measure 2.5 micron or less, they are classified as PM 2.5.
PM 2.5 particulates are small enough to enter the lungs or bloodstream of humans and cause health damage including lung cancer, the leading cause of death in Guangzhou.
In December last year, Guangzhou had 792 ongoing construction projects, and 8 of them were singled out by the city’s environmental protection department for causing flying dust pollution and discharging excessive amounts of dust, the report said.
Compared with a RMB 8500 ($1,370) fine for these infractions, the environmental protection department believed the financial punishment was too lenient. The city has yet to finalize a set of standards for the fines, but according to the report, it will be based on the construction site’s size, its operational period and protection measures taken by its development company.
The department said that any construction site measuring larger than 100,000 square meters should install CCTV cameras to monitor the amount of dust discharged and increase the frequency of spray surrounding roads with water to avoid raising dust.
Several construction sites will be selected to test out the results by August. If successful, the policy will be more broadly implemented by 2016.
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