Multiple national-level ministries including the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) and the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) held press conferences over the weekend in response to public concerns over the lingering smog in China.
China has made improvements in environmental protection despite strong headwinds, such as an economic structure burdened by heavy industry, an energy mix reliant on fossil fuels and environmentally unfriendly lifestyles, said Chen Jining, minister of environmental protection, at a press conference late on Friday in Beijing at which he spoke on China’s efforts on air pollution prevention, reported the Xinhua News Agency.
Chen said the ministry was evaluating 20 cities’ emergency plans to deal with heavy air pollution, hoping to improve their responses.
The cities include Beijing, Tianjin and 18 other cities in North China’s heavily polluted Hebei Province and surrounding regions.
The MEP will enhance supervision on whether local governments put its precautions and recommendations into practice, according to the minister.
Also, the National Meteorological Center held a press conference on Saturday, saying that weather conditions have not aided the diffusion of pollutants, which caused the recent choking smog in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
The NHFPC held another conference on the same day, briefing the public on the smog’s potential impact on their health and offering tips for protecting oneself in smoggy weather, according to an commentary by China Central Television News on its WeChat public account.
The NHFPC has vowed to make specific plans to help vulnerable groups including children and the elderly resist the damage done by smog, and also to set standards for masks and air purifiers, according to Mao Qun’an, director of the publicity center under the NHFPC.
Likewise, Cai Qi, deputy Party chief and acting mayor of Beijing, promised to take tougher measures to improve the city’s air quality in 2017 during a three-hour meeting with press and citizens on Saturday, Xinhua said.
Some citizens raised concerns about smog-related rumors and pseudoscientific posts on the Internet, to which Cai said efforts will be made to dispel rumors and provide more accurate information to the public.