Senior Chinese officials have tried tackling their country’s chronic air-pollution problem in piecemeal ways — fining some polluting companies, investing in alternative energy sources and ordering lower-level officials to enforce standards, for example.
To the dismay of many, pollution levels remain among the worst in the world, even if some official statistics point to slight improvements.
Now, officials in Hebei Province, which surrounds Beijing, have decided to create what they call a “green necklace” of trees in hopes of clearing the air. Hebei is filled with coal-powered steel factories and has the most polluted cities in China. The pollution from the factories is responsible for much of the smog in Beijing, a city of more than 22 million, and other parts of northern China.