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China plans to take a lot of old bangers off the road this year

Up to six million, in fact. It’s in a bid to tackle the country’s “extremely grim” environmental situation.

File photo of an old banger.
File photo of an old banger.
Image: Matito via Flickr/Creative Commons

IS YOUR CAR long past it’s use-by date, with bits falling off, billowing black smoke, and with a cassette player that hasn’t worked for a couple of decades?

The Chinese government is looking to intervene in situations like this, in an effort to revive stalled progress toward cleaning up smog-choked cities..

It’s planning to take six million older, polluting vehicles off the road this year.

The plan also calls for filling stations in Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities to switch to selling only the cleanest grades of gasoline and diesel, according to a statement from Cabinet.

The order comes after China failed to meet official pollution-reduction goals for 2011-2013, the statement said. It said vehicles registered before 2005 that fail to meet cleaner emissions standards will be “phased out,” though it did not say how.

It called the country’s environmental situation “extremely grim.”

China’s major cities are smothered in eye-searing smog. The country has some of the world’s strictest emissions standards, but authorities have refrained from enforcing them until now to avoid forcing older, pollution-belching trucks off the road and hurting small businesses.

Monday’s announcement suggests authorities have settled that conflict in favor of environmental protection following reports on the mounting health and economic costs of pollution.

Plans call for retiring 5 million older, polluting vehicles in Beijing, the nearby port of Tianjin and the deltas of the Yangtze River, around Shanghai, and the Pearl River, around the southern business center of Guangzhou, according to the statement. It gave no details on where the remaining 1 million vehicles due to be taken off the road were.

China has about 240 million vehicles on the road, and half are passenger cars, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

Read: These are the world’s most polluted cities >

Photos: No masks in stock as Beijing pollution goes off the charts >

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Associated Press

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