(Yicai Global) Feb. 16 -- China's Ministry of Environmental Protection will impose tougher restrictions on steel production in several cities which suffered serious air pollution in 2016. Steel production will be halved in Anyang in Henan province and Shijiazhuang, Handan and Tangshan in Hebei province during the heating period in 2017, said an internal draft document circulated by the ministry.
Steel production In Anyang, Handan, Tangshan and Shijiazhuang, where the local air quality index (AQI) was above the limits in the winter of 2016, will be capped at 50 percent of the capacity during the heating period this year. Production capacity will be calculated based on blast furnace production capacity, and compliance among steelmakers will be assessed based on their actual power consumption.
The document also calls for electrolytic aluminum production to be reduced by at least 30 percent in those cities, and aluminum oxide production by around 50 percent during the heating period. All air polluting plants failing to comply with the special omission limits will be shut down, and those meeting special omission requirements will cut their production by at least 50 percent. All pharmaceutical and pesticide production activities will also be suspended.
The winter central heating period in North China lasts from mid-November to mid-March.
The directive of the ministry of environmental protection will be implemented in 28 cities including Beijing and Tianjin, as well as Shijiazhuang in Hebei, Jinan in Shandong, Zhengzhou in Henan and Taiyuan in Shanxi province. Stricter PM 2.5 control targets are set for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and surrounding cities.