Beijing: Beijing has emerged as the best city in its region for air quality improvements over the past four months – a time when the capital usually suffers its worst air pollution – according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
From October to January, all 28 cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and surrounding areas saw their air quality improve.
Beijing topped the list, its concentration of PM2.5 dropping by 58.3% from the same period year-on-year.
PM2.5 refers to breathable particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less that is linked to health problems.
Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, came in second, with a decrease of 52.4%. There are, however, big differences between cities.
Jining, Shandong province, saw the smallest year-on-year decrease – just 8.4%, the ministry said.
Beijing and surrounding regions usually experience their worst air quality during the heating season, which typically starts in November and ends in March.
Coal becomes a major heating source during those cold months.
This season, however, Beijing saw a steady decrease in PM2.5. In October, the average concentration stood at 84 micrograms per cubic meter, which then declined to a record low of 34 micrograms per cubic meter last month.
The improvement coincided with a campaign targeting air pollution in the region.
An action plan released by the ministry in August required all 28 cities to cut PM2.5 concentrations by at least 15% year-on-year from October to March.
To ensure their target, the ministry launched its largest-ever inspection campaign in April.
The year-long campaign involves 5,600 environmental law enforcement officers, each of whom will perform inspections in a city for two weeks. — China Daily/Asia News Network
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