People, Environment

255 Shanghai Industrial Units to Close for G20

255 Shanghai Industrial Units to Close for G20255 Shanghai Industrial Units to Close for G20

China ordered at least 255 Shanghai-based industrial facilities, including part of a major oil refinery operated by Sinopec Corp, to shut for 14 days to reduce pollution ahead of the G20 summit.

The document, issued by Shanghai Environment Protection Bureau, has ordered a wide range of companies from power and petrochemical plants to logistics firms to shut down between August 24 and September 6 for the upcoming G20 meet in Hangzhou, Reuters reported.

Authorities in neighboring Zhejiang and Jiangsu province are set to issue similar orders to limit air pollution and safety hazards within a 300-kilometer radius from Hangzhou, according to industry and government officials.

China has previously shut down factories and limited the operation of heavy equipment ahead of high-profile diplomatic and sporting events, such as meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the Beijing Summer Olympics of 2008, to cut the choking smog that afflicts many of its cities.

“Longer-term China needs to work out a market-based approach to tackle pollution rather than an ad-hoc order. Apart from social responsibilities, business has its profit and loss to take care,” said Jing Chunmei, a researcher with China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

The G20 summit, hosted in the first week of September, has become China’s biggest diplomatic event of the year and is expected to gather together world leaders like Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama.

Coal-fired power plants in the area that do not meet emissions standards will be fully closed over the two weeks, according to the document, and the usage of heavy machinery will be reduced by 30% across Shanghai.

The 255 factories based in Shanghai, about 200 km from Hangzhou, cover sectors like chemicals, building materials, pharmaceuticals and printing, according to the document.

Operation of heavy machinery in the Jinshan district will be cut in half during the summit period, and sailings of dry bulk ships below 200 tons, oil tankers above 600 tons and all chemical tankers will be suspended.

The government is offering no subsidies for the shutdowns, according to four plants contacted by Reuters.

“We will try to reschedule plant maintenance to those two weeks to minimize the production loss,” said Shi Yan, a manager at Budenheim Fine Chemicals (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.