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Atkins tackles Beijing's air pollution

Beijing, Royal HaskoningDHV

Atkins has secured a major loan from the Asian Development Bank to address air pollution in Beijing. 

The greater Beijing capital area will deal with a long-standing pollution problem using policy actions recommended by Atkins. 

The $300M (£231M) loan from the Asian Development Bank will underpin the work. It is the first time the bank has supported a policy-based initiative in the People’s Republic of China.

The greater Beijing capital area includes the capital itself, Tianjin, and Hebei province. The area has a population of 109M and it contributes 10% of the national gross domestic product.

However, air pollution is a major problem for the area, which is also the country’s second largest coal consumer.

Inhalable particulate matter measuring less than 2.5 micrometres has reached a higher concentration than cities in the developed world. 

The World Health Organization has stated that there is no safe level for particulate matter below 2.5 micrometres.

Atkins will assist with the switch from coal to cleaner energy, promote public transport and increase biomass use in rural areas.

The company carried out a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) to work out the procedures for improving the capital’s air quality.

“The results of the rapid SEA clearly indicate a range of environmental benefits being generated by the policy actions, contributing to significant estimated coal consumption reductions of around 12.4M.t, representing about 4% of the Hebei’s total coal consumption in 2012, as well as estimated air pollutant and GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions reductions, with carbon dioxide emissions alone reduced by 18M.t a year against 2012 levels,” said Atkins associate director and project manager Mark Hewlett.

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