13 November 2019
Making good on a commitment to improve China’s air, the country’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) has announced a three year plan to cut volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions by 10%. The MEE is targeting almost every VOC source from oil and gas operations to pharmaceutical manufacturing.
China’s mission to crack down on air pollution began in September 2013 with particulate targets set for Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei cities, along with the Pearl and Yangtze River delta regions. Following inspection campaigns that shut down steel and chemical factories along with coal fired power plants, levels of particulate matter fell 20% between 2015 and 2018 in over 300 Chinese cities, while sulphur dioxide levels dropped 44% according to a MEE report released in during May 2019. However levels of ozone were found to have increased by 13% across the same cities. With VOCs being a precursor to ozone, control was the next logical step.
New measures to curtail VOC emissions include mandating factories to use filtering systems for exhaust gases and airtight containers for storing and transporting volatile chemicals.
Limits for VOC emissions from facilities producing pesticides, automotive coatings, packaging, furniture and electronics will be announced by the end of June 2020.
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