BEIJING, NOV - 18: At least 11.7 million vehicles were taken off roads and 10,000 factories shut as part of an initiative by Chinese government to ensure an eco-friendly Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. The government also squeezed 4.34 lakh officials for \"APEC Blue\" or clean skies for the summit that concluded this month and was attended by top world leaders including US President Barrack Obama. Giving new details about the efforts, the China Environmental News, a newspaper under the control of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, said President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli took a direct role in leading the clean-up. Xi and Li issued numerous written instructions on measures to curb air pollution and Zhang chaired meetings and oversaw the anti-smog campaign. China\'s Minister of Environmental Protection, Zhou Shengxian said 434,000 staff were involved in the
APEC blue-sky mission orchestrated by the central government, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Shandong and Henan provinces. Their work included inspecting 60,100 industrial plants and 123,000 other ventures including construction sites and petrol stations, he said. About 10,000 plants had to suspend production and 39,000 others were told to limit the hours they operated, with round-the-clock supervision by officials, Hong Kong based South China Morning Post quoted the report as saying. At least 11.7 million vehicles were ordered off the roads each day to cut exhaust emissions during the meeting. The Beijing Environmental Monitoring Centre said that between November 1 and 12 air pollutants in the capital fell to their lowest levels in five years.
The amount of PM2.5 in the atmosphere, the fine particles of pollution thought most harmful to health, also fell by 30 per cent in the same period, according to the monitoring centre. \"APEC Blue\" is a term coined by people living in Beijing to describe the impact of short-term curbs on air pollution. As more cars returned to the streets and factories restarted production, the air quality index published by the US embassy in the capital reached 296 on Saturday, officially described as \"very unhealthy\" and bordering on the \"hazardous\" level, the Post report said.