Beijing to introduce environmental police in effort to battle smog

China has long faced a problem with pollution

Beijing, China, smog, pollution

Image: A woman walks past Chinese paramilitary policemen wearing protection masks on Tiananmen Square in Beijing as the capital of China is blanketed by heavy smog. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

As China's problem with smog continues to worsen, Beijing's mayor has announced a number of measures aimed at easing the pollution in the city.

China has long faced some of the worst air pollution in the world, blamed on its reliance of coal for energy and factory production, as well as a surplus of older, less efficient cars on its roads. 

According to the Xinhua state news agency, acting mayor Cai Qi said that the a new police force will be established in order to identify and stop sources of smog and enforce the existing laws and regulations.

They will focus on sources of pollution, including the burning of garbage and the use of fuels, in order to clamp down on the amount of smog in the city. 

"Open-air barbecues, garbage incineration, biomass burning, dust from roads - these acts of non-compliance with regulations are actually the result of lax supervision and weak law enforcement," said Cai Qi. 

Timelapse videos which have been shared online in recent days, showing how the blanket of smog rolls in and ocvers the city, have highlighted the issue for a wider audience.  

As part of the move, the mayor has also stated that the city will be looking to phase out older vehicles that emit more pollutants into the atmosphere, and is aiming for a 30% reduction in the burning of coal.

According to the BBC, Mr Cai stated that the city's only coal-fired power plant will be closed after the winter, while some 2,000 factories will be upgraded to meet stricter standards.

Officials say that weather conditions have contributed to the smog, preventing it from dispersing, leading to the city shutting down highways and calling "red alerts", as well as leaving residents stuck in their homes in an effort to avoid breathing the air outside.