• China's smoggy skies will be "blue again."

China's smoggy skies will be "blue again." (Photo : Getty Images)

At the opening session of the National People’s Congress, Premier Li Keqiang pledged to make China's skies blue again and to "work faster" to address air pollution.

The process of burning coal for heat and electricity has caused air pollution. Smog has been the most visible environmental problem in China. With the public’s voice against air pollution, reducing smog has been a priority for the government.

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The number of protests has increased in cities where chemical plants and garbage incinerators are being built. Residents oppose the construction as they become aware of the dangers of pollution.

In his report, Li said that the people are “desperately hoping for” improvement in air quality. He pledged to make China’s skies “blue again.”

According to Li, the government will upgrade coal-fired power plants to achieve ultra-low emissions and to conserve energy. Integration of renewable energy sources into the electricity grid will also be a priority.

Li said that "all key sources of industrial pollution will be placed under round-the-clock online monitoring" as real-time and hourly readings from coal plants and other factories are made publicly available.

The disclosure of such information will give the public the capacity to monitor the emissions of plants in their areas.

According to Lauri Myllyvirta, a senior coal campaigner for Greenpeace, they had expected the announcement of the government to “work faster” against air pollution.

This year, the air pollution is supposed to hit targets which were laid down in 2013. The targets include the reduction in the density of fine particulate matter in Beijing and the surrounding region by 25 percent from 2012 levels.

The government would also increase its efforts to deal with vehicle emissions. This will be done by working faster to remove old vehicles from the road and by encouraging the use of clean-energy cars.

Li said that environmental laws and regulations will be strictly enforced. Officials who will fail to do so would be held “fully accountable.” Local officials have been lenient on enforcing regulations on companies that contribute to their area’s economic growth.

He also said that the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions would be cut by 3 percent and that the PM2.5 or the density of fine particulate matter would fall “markedly” in key areas this year.

With the Premier Li Keqiang's proposals to fight air pollution, Chinese people and the rest of the world are looking forward to seeing China's skies blue again.