China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) has approved eight emission standards including those for the iron and steel industry, which further tighten the emission limits of particles and sulphur dioxide, add discharge limits of nitrogen oxides and set much stricter rules on water and air pollutant discharge limits in environmentally sensitive areas.

Compared with the existing emission standard for water pollutants from the iron and steel industry, the new standard adds standards for 14 pollutants, including 11 heavy metal and toxic pollutants, according to Wu Xuefang, director of the MEP Environmental Standard Institute.

The new standard stipulates that emission concentration of particles from iron and steel industry is adjusted to 20-50 mg/m3 from the current 100- 150 mg/m3 and emission concentration of sulphur dioxide from sintering lines is adjusted to 200mg/m3 from 2000mg/m3 and the nitrogen oxides’ discharge concentration is 300mg/m3.

Steel mills have two years and three months as a transitional period to update their facilities to meet the emission standards. They have to strictly enforce the standards after the interim period. MEP has decided to start a new round of supervision for four main kinds of contaminants, including Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Sulphur Dioxide, Ammonia and Nitric Oxide in the next half year.

Zhang Lijun, Vice Minister of Environmental Protection, stressed that each province should draft an industry check plan for high polluting industries including steelworks to make sure that total emissions of major pollutants will fall. The MEP set an emission reduction target for Nitric Oxide to achieve zero increase in 2012, but it is estimated Nitric Oxide discharges may increase in the first half of 2012.

Source: China Metals e-mail