As haze continues to plague China the steel industry is seen as a major source of air pollution. Industrial insiders say the country’s steel sector is faced with problems including excessive capacity and serious air pollution, but becoming greener will be a daunting and painful task.

Though China has achieved remarkable results in saving energy, reducing pollution, and protecting environment in the past five years, the steel industry has remained a heavy polluter. Statistics show that dust released by steel makers accounted for a 20.7% share in the country’s total industrial dust emission in 2010. Sulphur dioxide, nitric dioxide, and smoke accounted for 9.5%, 6.3%, and 9.3%, respectively.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection has also announced a plan to set air pollutant emission limits in highly polluted areas, covering 47 cities in 19 provinces and provincial- level regions and municipalities.

Steel makers have seemed reluctant to release their pollution data. Of the 10 largest steel maker listed on the Shanghai Stock Market, few have published data about their emission of pollutants and none have set a clear agenda for emission reduction. As the hazy weather continues to plague north China, pressure will be mounting on all air polluters, including steel makers.

Source: China Metals e-mail chinametal@xinhua.org