[November 27, 2013]BEIJING (AP) — Beijing is waging a
war against air pollution, one barbecue at a time.
Authorities in the capital have destroyed more than 500 open-air
barbecues "to cut PM2.5" — the tiny particulate matter in the air
that can enter deep into the lungs.
Photos carried by state media showed workers on Tuesday cutting
pieces of metal with sparks flying as city wardens looked on.
Citizens online ridiculed the exercise, suggesting authorities
should focus on bigger sources of pollution.
A media officer at Beijing's Xicheng district administration bureau
said the hundreds of barbecue grills were confiscated over a
three-month campaign and cut up so they couldn't be used again. She
refused to give her name, as is common with Chinese officials.
Environmental campaigner Ma Jun said residents had complained to
environmental agencies in the past about the odor and smoke from
"This action will help local residents, but to deal with the bigger
air quality problem we need to have priorities and I think one of
the major priorities should still be the motor vehicle emissions,"
said Ma, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental
Affairs. He said the focus should be on improving the fuel quality
and emissions control of heavy duty diesel trucks, while also
involving the surrounding regions, not just Beijing.
The capital's pollution regularly reaches hazardous levels. The city
government announced last month that emergency measures such as
factory shutdowns and traffic limits would kick in when air
pollution levels are particularly heavy.