Beijing will ban the consumption of high-polluting fuels in downtown areas by 2020, the municipal environmental protection authority said.
The Economic and Technological Development Zone in Yizhuang, Daxing district will be the first area with zero consumption of high-polluting fuels by the end of this year, according to a new plan for the ban on such fuels in the capital.
Fuels for use in vehicles are not included on the list of those that will be forbidden.
The central districts of Dongcheng and Xicheng will implement the ban by the end of next year, and all the districts in downtown areas and 80 per cent of the suburbs should follow the plan to use low-polluting fuels by 2020.
The plan classifies such fuels as coal, fuel oil, petroleum coke, combustible waste, biomass fuels (those developed from organic materials) and other fuels defined under national regulations as high polluting. Based on the budget, different regions are expected to follow the ban strictly so that no companies or individuals are allowed to use these fuels for production, heating or cooking.
"The forbidden list can be said to be the strictest in the country now, since it covers more than other cities on biomass fuels," said Liu Wei, deputy head of air quality management at the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.
"The ban on high-polluting fuels will be an effective way to reduce pollutant emissions, thus improving air quality," Liu said.
In 2012, coal accounted for more than 25 per cent of total energy consumption, and oil products accounted for 31.1 per cent.
Regarding the potential for great improvement in air quality, Chang Jiwen, deputy director of the Research Institute of Resources and Environmental Policies, said that pollution emissions from coal heating during the winter will be greatly reduced.
"Like Beijing, the surrounding provinces and cities also need to make strict efforts to control air pollution," Chang said, adding that cooperation in the region is required to control air pollution more effectively.
Clean energy is also expected to be promoted in the capital, so that by 2017, according to a goal set by the municipal government, clean energy sources will account for at least 90 per cent of all energy consumption.
Reductions in the use of traditional energy such as coal and fossil fuels will not affect ordinary consumption for production and daily life, said Dai Bing, a coal industry researcher.
"The high-energy-consumption enterprises have been moving out of the capital over the past years, and besides, natural gas consumption has been widened," he said.