BEIJING, Oct 14 (Reuters) - China said on Monday it would give rewards amounting to 5 billion yuan ($816.91 million) for curbing air pollution in six regions where the problem is serious, underscoring government concern about a source of public anger.
The Finance Ministry said the regions eligible for the rewards were Beijing and its neighbouring city of Tianjin, the provinces of Hebei, Shanxi and Shandong, as well as the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
The awards would be made at the end of the year and would be determined by pollution reduction targets, investment in tackling the problem and falls in PM 2.5 particles, which are especially bad for health, the ministry said on its website.
The provinces of Shanxi and Inner Mongolia are among China's top coal-producing provinces and have been a major source of air pollution.
Smog over northern cities in January generated widespread anger as did the discovery of thousands of dead pigs in March in a river that supplies water to the city of Shanghai.
Protests over pollution in China are becoming common, to the government's alarm. Authorities have invested in various projects to fight pollution and even empowered courts to mete out the death penalty in serious pollution cases.
But the results have been mixed. Enforcement of rules has been patchy at the local level, where district authorities often rely on taxes from polluting industries.
State media said in July the government planned to invest 1.7 trillion yuan ($277 billion) to fight air pollution over the next five years. ($1 = 6.1206 Chinese yuan) (Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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Top 10 Most Polluting Countries
In the following slides, find the top 10 countries with the greatest carbon dioxide emissions in 2011. Figures are estimates from the <a href="http://edgar.jrc.ec.europa.eu/overview.php?v=CO2ts1990-2011&sort=des9">Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR)</a>, a joint project of the European Commission and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. (Photo Getty Images)
10. United Kingdom
Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 470 million (Photo Getty/AFP/MIGUEL MEDINA)
Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 490 million (Photo Getty/AFP/ROMEO GACAD)
#8 - Canada
Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 560 million (Photo MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
#7 - South Korea
Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 610 million (Photo CHOI JAE-KU/AFP/Getty Images)
#6 - Germany
Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 810 million (Photo JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)
#5 - Japan
Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 1.24 billion (Photo YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
#4 - Russian Federation
Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 1.83 billion (Photo KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
#3 - India
Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 1.97 billion (Photo ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
#2 - USA
Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 5.42 billion (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
#1 - China
Estimated 2011 CO2 Emissions in metric tonnes: 8.7 billion (Photo PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)