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China has ordered three northern cities to stop approving new projects that would add to air pollution after they failed to meet air quality targets this past winter.

The mayors of Handan in Hebei province and Jincheng and Yangquan in Shanxi province were given the orders after being summoned to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment in Beijing on Thursday.

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The meeting, which was attended by Reuters, came after the cities failed to meet targets to cut levels of hazardous, breathable particles known as PM2.5 over the October 2017 to March 2018 period.

“We will continue to fight against air pollution in the name of dignity and as our mission,” Handan’s mayor, Wang Litong, said at the meeting.

China launched a campaign last October to reduce average concentrations of PM2.5 by between 10-25 percent in 28 northern cities in an effort hit 2013-2017 air quality targets.

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