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Beijing just shut down its last major coal-fired power plant

Beijing is now the first Chinese city to rely on clean(ish) energy

Wikimedia Commons
Well, here's some really positive news with regards to Beijing's continuous fight to rehab its image as Smog Central and combat the consistently high air pollution levels.

Last Saturday, it was announced that the Government has officially closed the city's last remaining large coal-run power plant, meaning that – as of this week – all electricity and heating in the capital is now supplied by cleaner energy sources, such as wind power or natural gas.

The switch-off comes as part of current plans to tackle levels of pollution, which are currently... shall we say, a wee bit over the World Health Organisation's guidelines. According to WHO analysis from 2016, 92 percent of the world's population live in places where air quality isn't up to scratch, with this causing an estimated 6.5 million deaths every single year: an approximate 1.6 million of these deaths are in China.

coal power
Pretty grim, eh? Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

As much as we may complain about the pollution in the capital, Beijing isn't even ranked in the top 50 of the most polluted cities in the world.

According to the most up-to-date figures released by the WHO, from 2014, Beijing is the 56th most air polluted city in the world, with an average of 85.2 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic metre. PM2.5 is the finest level of particulate matter and poses the hardest task in terms of filtration, as well as being classed as a carcinogenic. Cities with higher levels of air pollution include Zabol in Iran, Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, Xingtai in China and Delhi in India.

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