China Focus: China fights uphill battle against air pollution - ENVIRONMENT - Humanrights

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China Focus: China fights uphill battle against air pollution
October 26,2017   By:Xinhua

BEIJING, Oct. 26, 2017 -- Although China has made achievements in air pollution control in recent years, a tough battle remains, minister of environmental protection Li Ganjie has said.

Speaking at a press conference in Beijing Monday, Li said from 2013 to 2016, the density of PM2.5 fell 33 percent in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

PM2.5 density measures the concentration of small particles in the air and is often used as a gauge of smog.

Figures in the Yangtze River and Pearl River deltas dropped 31.3 percent and 31.9 percent respectively during the same period, according to Li.

However, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region has seen a rebound in PM2.5 and PM10 density in the first half of the year, with the two indicators up 14.3 and 13.2 percent, compared to the same period last year.

In January 2013, most parts of northern China were hit by severe air pollution, with Beijing enveloped by heavy smog for more than 20 days during the month.

In 2013, PM2.5 density became an important indicator to gauge air quality across China. Since then, the Chinese government has made a series of policies to reduce air pollution.

After three years of efforts, the average density of PM2.5 in Beijing dropped to 73 micrograms per cubic meters, down 18 percent from 2013 levels. Heavy air pollution days in Beijing dropped from 58 days in 2013 to 39 days in 2016, according to the Air Quality Index (AQI).

Under Chinese air quality standards, an AQI below 100 is defined as a good air quality day. An average daily AQI above 200 indicates heavy air pollution. People including children and elderly people are suggested not to participate in outside activities.

In 2016, the average concentration of PM2.5 in Tianjin city was 69 micrograms per cubic meters and 70 in Hebei Province, falling by 28.1 and 35.2 percent respectively, compared with 2013.

Nationwide, air quality in some 338 cities at the prefecture level and above has improved, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP).

Since coal burning is the primary source of air pollution in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the area has started to reduce and ban coal use.

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