A paramilitary policeman at Tiananmen Square. Photo: Reuters/ Damir Sagolj
A paramilitary policeman at Tiananmen Square. Photo: Reuters/ Damir Sagolj

China has ordered steel and aluminum producers in 28 cities to slash output during winter and required coal transport by rail instead of truck in Tianjin and Hebei province, in Beijing’s latest effort to crack down on pollution.

A 26-page document dated February 17 and seen by Reuters outlined a series of steps covering heavy industry in four northern provinces Hebei, Shanxi, Shandong, Henan as well as Beijing and Tianjin and cutting coal use in the capital.

Here are the main steps:

Heavy Industry

  • During the peak winter heating months around late November to late February, steel mills must cut output in half, aluminum output must be slashed by more than 30% and alumina output by around 30% in those regions. The size of the cuts will depend on the level of emissions reductions in the regions.
  •  Based on the cuts over those three months, the measures would reduce China’s total annual steel output by 8% annually and aluminum output by 17%, according to Reuters calculations.

Steel mills in Hebei, China’s top steel producing province, must meet targets for cutting overcapacity this year, ahead of schedule. Cuts at mills in the cities of Langfang and Baoding should be a top priority, the statement said.

Pesticide companies must cover waste water treatment areas and collect emissions.

Coal-fired power

By the end of October, small coal-fired boilers in Beijing will be shut. New residential buildings will not use coal, but will run natural gas, geothermal power or other renewable fuels.

By the end of June, local authorities must issue permits to companies allowing them to use thermal coal power.

Tianjin Port

  • From the end of July, the port will ban diesel trucks from carrying coal.
  • From the end of September, all coal must be transported by rail in Hebei and the surrounding areas.


  • The government will strengthen oversight of diesel cars and trucks in the capital and install surveillance equipment.
  • Improve fuel quality and encourage taxis to run on electricity rather than diesel.
  • Ban the use of fireworks in Beijing, Langfang and Baoding.
  • Local authorities will give more financial support to regions to cut air pollution and to boost the use of clean energy sources for heating.