Beijing: China has seen its air quality worsen a little in the first quarter, particularly in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the national environmental authority said.
“In the first three months, 71% of days in 338 cities tracked had good air quality, 0.9% higher than the same period last year, but the concentration of PM2.5 increased 3.3% year-on-year,” said Liu Zhiquan, head of the environmental monitoring department at the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
PM2.5 refers to fine particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 microns, which is hazardous to human health, and is one of the six air pollutants that are monitored continuously.
While the average air quality has deteriorated slightly nationwide, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region saw a major drop in air quality in the first quarter.
In that region, PM2.5 concentration soared to 95 microgrammes per cubic metre, a 26.7% year-on-year increase, the ministry said.
The national air quality standard for PM2.5 is 35 microgrammes per cubic metre or less.
In the 10 cities with the worst air quality, six were in the region – specifically in Hebei, a province where heavy industry is an economic pillar.
Shijiazhuang, the provinces capital topped the list in the first quarter, Liu said.
Following the usual winter smog, residents in Beijing, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang will see a new round of air pollution starting on Thursday, with light to medium levels forecast, the ministry said on Monday.
The bad air will last until Sunday, it said.
The southern Pearl River Delta also saw an increase in PM2.5 concentrations to 44 microgrammes per cubic metre, an increase of 25.7% over the same period last year, Liu said. — China Daily/Asia News Network
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