An official of the Beijing's Environmental Protection Bureau said boosting efforts to cut air pollution in northern China, especially winter smog from the burning of coal, is a mission for this year.

Among the efforts, Beijing has declared that it will wipe out coal use in its most rural areas by 2020, state-run China Daily reported.

As much as "60 percent of smog content is caused by coal burning in the starting phase of each smog", Fang Li, an official with Beijing's Environmental Protection Bureau said.

Studies showed that 30 percent of the pollution comes from automobiles.

Beijing's downtown districts of Dongcheng and Xicheng eliminated coal burning last year, officials said.

The capital and other places in northern China experienced several smog alerts in November and December, when peak readings were many times higher than the national safety level.

Last month Beijing declared its first red alert as the city of over 22 million people was enveloped by heavily polluted smog leading to a host of emergency measures including closure of schools and restriction of traffic with odd and even number plates.

Burning coal for winter heating has been listed as one of the primary causes of air pollution, Chen Jining minister of environmental protection has said at the annual meeting on environmental protection in Beijing.

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