To reach its goal of reducing hydrocarbon emissions by 5 percent, China's capital Beijing will implement the world's strictest vehicle emission standards by 2017.

Apart from lowering hydrocarbon emissions, the new standard is aiming for a 40 to 50 percent reduction in emissions. Based on recent assumptions, Beijing's overall pollution from vehicle emissions will go down by 20 to 30 percent.

The new Beijing VI gasoline standard is expected to kick off on Dec. 1, 2017.

In 2007, the Chinese capital led the usage of unleaded gasoline in the country and also rolled out the Beijing II gasoline standard in 2004.

According to the Environmental Protection Bureau in China, Beijing later on issued several gasoline standards including Beijing III (2005), Beijing IV (2008) and Beijing V (2012).

Compared with other cities in China, Beijing's gasoline standards are one or two stages advanced.

Increasing Air Pollution

This March, China issued a two-day yellow alert due to the incessant smog in the northern regions that showed no signs of reduction.

China has a four-tier weather warning system - red, orange, yellow and blue. A red alert is the most severe weather warning that can be issued. This is when air pollutants exceed the 200 level on the system's index for three days straight.

Beijing experienced its worst smog incident on Dec. 7, 2015 that came with the city's first red alert. The smog condition worsened to the point that school activities were canceled.

Due to worsening air pollution, Beijing announced in February that they plan to make a network of ventilation corridors that will cool the air by improving air flow and even eliminate pollutants.

Health Problems

Apart from respiratory conditions, a new study highlighted the "suggestive evidence" linking an increase in air pollution exposure to higher risks of stillbirths among would-be mothers at their third trimester.

Another study further connected air pollution exposure to premature births and highlighted the economic burdens that accompany the mother's exposure to fine particulate matter.

The increasing research into air pollution and its alleged link to the pregnancy complications are adding to the further need to address such problems.

Findings suggested that air pollution is also affecting the health conditions of unborn generations.

Photo: Cory M. Grenier | Flickr

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