China is the largest steel producer in the world, with a crude steel output of 928 million tons in 2018, accounting for 51.3% of the world's total crude steel output. The iron and steel industry has a long process flow, many pollution production links, and a large amount of pollutant emissions. At present, the steel industry has become one of the main sources of air pollution in China.
In recent years, China has actively promoted air pollutant emission reduction in the iron and steel industry and made important progress by taking measures such as structural optimization, relocation of enterprises in key areas, and strengthening terminal pollution control. Since 2013, China has eliminated 210 million tons of backward and excess steel production capacity, and banned 140 million tons of strip steel. These measures have led to the increase of national steel production and the reduction of total pollutant emissions. However, due to the huge output and uneven emission level of the steel industry, the total emissions of the industry are still high.
It is estimated that in 2017, the emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter in the iron and steel industry were 1.06 million tons, 1.72 million tons and 2.81 million tons respectively, accounting for 7%, 10% and 20% of the total national emissions. In 2017, the main pollutant emissions of China's steel industry exceeded that of the power industry, becoming the largest pollutant emission source of the industrial sector.
He Kebin, Dean of the school of environment, Tsinghua University and academician of the Chinese Academy of engineering, pointed out that in addition to large emissions, the concentration of China's steel industry layout is also an important reason for regional air pollution. China's iron and steel production capacity is mainly concentrated in areas with relatively serious air pollution. The iron and steel production capacity of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and surrounding areas, Yangtze River Delta, Fenwei plain and other key areas for air pollution control accounts for 55% of the country's total production capacity, and its average PM2.5 concentration is about 38% higher than the national average concentration.
The emission of iron and steel enterprises has a significant impact on urban air quality. The monitoring shows that at present, the air quality of the top 20 cities in China's steel production capacity is not up to standard, and the average PM2.5 concentration is 28% higher than the national average. He Kebin said that as the steel industry is relatively more concentrated in key regions, the ultra-low emission transformation will produce greater environmental benefits in key regions.
According to the opinions, enterprises that have completed the transformation of ultra-low emissions should increase policy support in tax, capital, price, finance, environmental protection, etc. By the end of 2020, significant progress will be made in the transformation of ultra-low emission of iron and steel enterprises in key regions, striving to complete the transformation at about 60% of the production capacity; by the end of 2025, the transformation will be basically completed in key regions, striving to complete the transformation at more than 80% of the production capacity nationwide.
Li Xinchuang, President of the metallurgical industry planning and Research Institute, told reporters that the blue sky defense war has entered a critical stage, and the steel industry has become the "main battlefield" for air pollution control. The specific index requirements of ultra-low emission put forward in the opinions can be regarded as the starting point for the high-quality development of iron and steel enterprises. On this basis, the enterprises can also adopt the technologies encouraged in the scheme and the advanced technologies not mentioned in the scheme according to their own conditions, so as to achieve higher quality ultra-low emission.