Dec 22, 2016 05:27 PM

Electricity, Natural Gas Should Replace Coal for Heating, Xi Says

(Beijing) — President Xi Jinping has called for the use of more clean energy in winter heating in northern China to tackle the area's crippling air pollution.

At the meeting in Beijing of the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs, which he leads, Xi identified six issues the country needs to address, including air pollution, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. The other five were recycling, agricultural waste, the housing bubble, food and drug safety, and care for the elderly.

The Wednesday meeting came as dozens of cities in northern and eastern parts of the country were enveloped in toxic air for five days starting the evening of Dec. 16 in the worst bout of smog to batter China this year.

Xi said that governments, the business community and consumers should work together to make electricity and natural gas cheaper and more accessible to ordinary households in northern China. That way, they could replace burning coal, which is blamed for frequent smog in the regions in winter.

Policymakers at the meeting also set 2020 as a target to eradicate pollution from waste at cattle farms nationwide. Cattle farmers should be helped to adopt more biological technology to turn waste into methane and bio-fertilizers, Xi said.

About 18 million dead pigs die every year, according to official statistics, but Chinese pig farmers have few options for disposing of the carcasses.

Thousands of dead pigs turned up in Shanghai's Huangpu River, a major source of drinking water for the metropolis. Pig farmers in Zhejiang dumped the carcasses in narrow waterways flowing upstream of the Huangpu River, and the carcasses were carried downriver by floodwater.

Contact reporter Li Rongde (

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