Beijing's crackdown on air pollution has a new target: kitchens.
The Chinese capital, which just endured possibly the worst smog in months earlier this week, launched a three-month campaign against restaurant kitchen exhausts, the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau announced on Friday.
The campaign mainly targets restaurants in downtown Beijing around densely inhabited neighborhoods. The campaign comes after Beijing authorities said they will impose stricter curbs on car use last month.
Indoor restaurants with excessive exhausts will face a fine of up to 3,000 yuan (S$610), the bureau said.
Restaurants without proper outdoor exhaust purification equipment will be banned from barbecuing. Violators will face a maximum penalty of 20,000 yuan.
In summer, kitchen exhausts can contribute to 15 to 20 per cent of the PM2.5 pollutants in downtown Beijing, according to 2012 research by Wang Yuesi of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. That makes kitchen exhausts the third-largest source of air pollution, after vehicles and pollutants drifting from neighbouring areas.
PM2.5 is particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 micrometers, which can enter and harm people's lungs.
The components of the restaurant exhausts, high in fine particulate matter, are very complex, consisting mainly of volatile organic compounds. They pose a severe threat to residents' health, especially those who have heart and lung problems, said the research.