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Beijing sees sharp PM2.5 reduction

Writer:   | Editor: Lily A  | From:  | Updated: 2018-01-11

BEIJING saw major air pollutants plummet in the last quarter of 2017 thanks to a string of measures to improve air quality, the environmental protection ministry said yesterday.

The density of PM2.5 in Beijing dropped by 53.8 percent in the October-December period year on year while that for December plummeted by nearly 70 percent, according to a statement on the ministry’s website.

An air pollution plan issued by the State Council in September 2013 ordered Beijing to reduce its PM2.5 density from 90 micrograms per cubic meter in 2013 to around 60 micrograms per cubic meter by the end of 2017.

The average density of PM2.5 in Beijing was 58 micrograms per cubic meter last year thanks to effective pollution controls including demolition of coal-fired boilers and the phasing out of vehicles with high emissions.

The statement showed that 28 monitored cities saw an average drop in PM2.5 density of 34.3 percent in Q4 last year, with Shijiazhuang, capital city of Hebei Province, achieving the biggest progress by reducing PM2.5 density by 54.8 percent.

Also, Tianjin Municipality recorded its best air quality after five years of fighting air pollution, local authorities said yesterday.

Tianjin enjoyed 209 “good air” days last year, 64 more than in 2013, while the number of heavy pollution days decreased from 49 in 2013 to 23.

The city’s PM2.5 level in 2017 was 62 micrograms per cubic meter, the lowest in five years.

PM2.5 is a measure of the density of hazardous particulate in the air. The World Health Organization recommends an annual PM2.5 level of 10 micrograms per cubic meter.

Tianjin also recorded improvements in the density of other major pollutants such as PM10, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, with sulfur dioxide down 72.9 percent compared with 2013.