China’s Environment Ministry has reported that fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution “plummeted” in 2017, following steps to target emission in some of the most polluted cities in the country.
The average density of PM2.5 in 338 cities nationwide monitored by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) stood at 43 µgm/3 last year, falling by 6.5% compared to 2016, figures published by the MEP yesterday (18 January) suggest.
Levels of PM10 recorded in the cities declined to 75 µgm/3 during the same period, the MEP claimed, representing a 5.1% reduction compared to 2016.
China’s capital, Beijing, saw concentrations of PM2.5 drop by up to one fifth (20.5%) the MEP claimed, reaching a level of 58 µgm/3 last year.
This meant that the city met its goal to reduce PM2.5 level to around 60 µgm/3, following the implementation of a pollution control plan issued by the State Council in 2013.
Action has focused on stricter pollution monitoring, restrictions on industrial production and sanctions against persistent polluters.
Shijiazhuang, capital city of Hebei province, was named as the city with the worst air quality throughout the year, while Haikou, capital of Hainan province, topped Chinese cities with the “best air conditions” according to the MEP.
Tackling pollution has been listed as one of “three tough battles” that Chinese authorities are seeking to win, reports have suggested.
Increased efforts to tackle air pollution in the Asian nation have seen environmental consultancy Ricardo appointed to carry out a two year study into improving air quality in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, using Ricardo’s RapidAir air quality modelling system (see airqualitynews.com story).