China Tightens Pollution Standards For Steel, Iron Industries; Restructuring Expected

SHENZHEN, China--China’s steel, iron, and coking industries will face new limits on emissions of water and air pollutants starting Oct. 1, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

The standards, posted on the ministry website Aug. 2, are part of an effort to reduce environmental impacts and steer restructuring in these industries, which are plagued by overcapacity and outdated production practices, Vice Minister Wu Xiaoqing told the state-run newspaper People’s Daily in an interview published Aug. 8. The new limits are likely to spur mergers and elimination of the most-offending enterprises, he said.

The requirements, which replace 1990s standards, will be effective for new facilities Oct. 1. Older facilities must comply by Jan. 1, 2015, Wu said.

The standards are designed to reduce airborne emissions of sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides and wastewater levels of ammonia nitrogen and chemical oxygen demand--the four key pollutants targeted in the national 12th Five-Year Plan for reduction--as well as emissions of coarse and fine particulate matter, Wu said (35 INER 700, 7/18/12).

Wu said full deployment of desulfurization technology is expected to cut sulfur dioxide emissions from the iron and steel industries between 30 percent and 40 percent by 2015, compared to 2010 levels.

Coking industry emissions of sulfur dioxide are expected to drop by 62.2 percent by 2015 under the new standards, nitrogen oxide emissions by 42.8 percent, ammonia nitrogen by 51.6 percent, and chemical oxygen demand levels by 73.3 percent, all compared to 2010 levels, Wu said.

In a separate action, the ministry July 11 released a directory of advanced pollution control technologies it encourages industries to adopt, replacing a 2010 version.

By Michael Standaert  

More information on the new pollutant limits for the steel, iron, and coking industries is available, in Chinese, at

The new advanced pollution control technology directory is available, in Chinese, at