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China's Action Plans for Continuous Improvement of Air Quality

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The State Council issued the “Action Plans for Continuous Improvement of Air Quality” on November 30, 2023, to promote high-quality economic development through continuous improvement of air quality, and formulated this action plan.

Key Takeaways from Action Plans for Continuous Improvement of Air Quality


By 2025

1. Pollution Concentration Control

The PM2.5 concentration in cities at or above the prefecture level nationwide will decrease by 10% compared to 2020, and the ratio of days with severe pollution will be controlled within 1%; the total emissions of nitrogen oxides and VOCs will decrease by more than 10% compared to 2020.

2. Acceleration of Clean Energy

The proportion of non-fossil energy consumption will reach about 20%, and the proportion of electric energy in terminal energy consumption will reach about 30%. Continue to increase the production and supply of natural gas, and the newly added natural gas will give priority to ensuring the needs of residents’ lives and clean heating.

3. Clean Transportation

The volume of railway and waterway freight will increase by about 10% and 12% respectively compared to 2020; in the new coal-producing areas of Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Inner Mongolia, the proportion of railway transportation in the medium and long-distance transportation (transportation distance of more than 500 kilometres) of coal and coke will strive to reach 90%; the proportion of clean transportation (including new energy vehicles) of iron ore, coke, etc. in the main ports along the coast of the key areas and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area will strive to reach 80%. The coverage rates of fast charging stations in key regional cities and other areas are >80% and >60% respectively.

4. Control of non-road Source Pollution

The proportion of prefabricated buildings in the new building area will reach 30%; the mechanized sweeping rate of roads in the built-up areas of cities at or above the prefecture level will reach about 80%, and the county towns will reach about 70%.

5. Multi-pollutant Reduction

Ultra-low emission transformation of key industries such as steel, cement, coking, and coal-fired boilers.

6. Mechanism Construction

Promote the coordinated control of PM2.5 and ozone. Cities with PM2.5 concentrations below 40 micrograms/cubic meter in 2020 that have not met the standard will achieve the standard during the “14th Five-Year Plan” period; other cities that have not met the standard will improve the air quality improvement stage target during the “14th Five-Year Plan”.

Improve the environmental protection tax collection system and accelerate the inclusion of VOCs in the collection scope.

Government Agencies: Take the lead in carrying out green procurement and fully use low (no) VOC content products.

State-Owned Enterprises: Take the lead in guiding green production and promote pollution control and emission reduction.

Key regional cities:

  • Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and surrounding areas: Beijing, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Tangshan, Qinhuangdao, Handan, Xingtai, Baoding, Cangzhou, Langfang, Hengshui in Hebei Province, as well as Xiong’an New Area and Xinji, Dingzhou, Jinan, Zibo, Zaozhuang, Dongying, Weifang, Jining, Tai’an, Rizhao, Linyi, Dezhou, Liaocheng, Binzhou, Heze in Shandong Province, Zhengzhou, Kaifeng, Luoyang, Pingdingshan, Anyang, Hebi, Xinxiang, Jiaozuo, Puyang, Xuchang, Luohe, Sanmenxia, Shangqiu, Zhoukou in Henan Province, and Jiyuan City.

  • Yangtze River Delta region: Shanghai, Jiangsu Province, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Jiaxing, Huzhou, Shaoxing, Zhoushan in Zhejiang Province, Hefei, Wuhu, Bengbu, Huainan, Ma’anshan, Huaibei, Chuzhou, Fuyang, Suzhou, Lu’an, Bozhou in Anhui Province.

  • Fenwei Plain: Taiyuan, Yangquan, Changzhi, Jincheng, Jinzhong, Yuncheng, Linfen, Lvliang in Shanxi Province, Xi’an, Tongchuan, Baoji, Xianyang, Weinan in Shaanxi Province, as well as Yangling Agricultural High-tech Industry Demonstration Zone, Hancheng City.

Industry Focus


  • Steel industry: Strictly prohibit the addition of steel production capacity. Implement the integrated layout of steel, coking, and sintering, significantly reduce independent coking, sintering, pelletizing, and hot rolling enterprises and processes, eliminate backward coal washing capacity; orderly guide the transformation of blast furnace - converter long process steelmaking to electric furnace short process steelmaking. By 2025, the proportion of short-process steel production will reach 15%. The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and surrounding areas continue to implement “coke determined by steel”, and the ratio of coking capacity to long-process steelmaking capacity is controlled at about 0.4. All key areas to achieve ultra-low emissions in the steel industry, and the transformation of ultra-low emissions from coal-fired boilers is to be completed.


  • Petrochemical industry: Cities and key industrial parks where the petrochemical and chemical industries are concentrated in key areas will establish a unified leak detection and repair information management platform by the end of 2024.


  • Financial industry: Carry out green finance evaluation on banking financial institutions as required, and attract long-term institutional investors to invest in green financial products. Actively support qualified enterprises and financial institutions to issue green bonds, carry out green bond credit rating, and improve the level of information disclosure of green bonds.


  • Industrial coating, packaging printing, electronics industry, outdoor building protection, and urban road traffic signs: Strictly control the construction projects that produce and use high VOC content paints, inks, adhesives, cleaning agents, etc., and increase the proportion of low (no) VOC content products.


  • Strictly implement the VOC content limit standards at the production, sales, import, and use stages.

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