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China Urges Public to Walk, Ride Bikes to Help Cut Smog

FILE - A man rides an electric bike crossing a street shrouded by haze in Beijing.

China has issued a “behavioral standards” guide to combat pollution and reduce environmental damage, urging people to do everything from walking and riding bicycles to buying goods with less packaging.

The Chinese government has identified public participation as a key element in its efforts to reverse some of the environmental damage done by more than three decades of breakneck economic growth.

The list of eight standards, published on the environment ministry's website on Wednesday, urged citizens to refrain from burning garbage and limit the use of fireworks and barbecues.

It also urged the public to take responsibility for pollution by reporting illegal behavior to the authorities.

Amendments to the country's Environmental Protection Law, passed on April, made it an obligation for all Chinese citizens to protect the environment.

A local government study showed in April that 31 percent of the smog in China's capital Beijing is derived from vehicles, 22.4 percent from coal burning and 18.1 percent from industry.

Beijing's environmental bureau said 14.1 percent was made up of other smaller sources like food preparation, livestock rearing and vehicle repairs.