Asia

Beijing to spend $2.7 billion on cleaning capital's air

FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016, file photo, a woman uses a scarf to cover her mouth for protection against the air pollution as she walks on a street in Beijing, China. Beijing will spend $2.7 billion to fight air pollution in the capital this year, state media reported Thursday. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)

FILE - In this Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016, file photo, a woman uses a scarf to cover her mouth for protection against the air pollution as she walks on a street in Beijing, China. Beijing will spend $2.7 billion to fight air pollution in the capital this year, state media reported Thursday. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)  (The Associated Press)

Chinese state media say Beijing will spend $2.7 billion to fight air pollution in the capital this year.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Thursday that part of the money will be used to close or upgrade more than 2,000 polluting factories, replace the use of coal with clean energy on the outskirts of the city and phase out 300,000 high-polluting older vehicles.

Authorities are eager to bring about a visible improvement in China's bad air, especially in the capital. Beijing has suffered some particularly bad bouts of hazardous air in the past few weeks, causing it to order some factories to temporarily close and schoolchildren to stay at home.

On Wednesday, a new environmental police squad tasked with rooting out illegal burning in the city was launched.