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Beijing sees improvements in air quality

By Zheng Jinran | | Updated: 2017-06-02 16:59

Beijing has seen improvements in its air quality with lower levels of pollutants and more good air days, the municipal environmental authority said on Friday. 

Last year, the capital had 198 days when the air quality was defined as good — an increase of 22 days over the amount in 2013, according to the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau's annual Beijing Environmental Statement.

Readings for PM2.5 — fine particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 microns that is harmful to health — stood at 73 micrograms per cubic meter last year, on average, a 9.9 percent year-on-year decrease.

However, this year Beijing should aim to lower PM2.5 levels to 60 micrograms per cubic meter, according to the national action plan against air pollution released earlier by the State Council, China's cabinet. 

 Last year, Beijing issued 17 emergency alerts for air pollution, including one red alert and three orange alerts — the two highest levels in the four-tier emergency response system.

 In total, the emergency alerts lasted for 36 days, the statement said.

When the red alert was in effect for six days in December, it is estimated that air pollutant emissions were reduced by one third and PM2.5 levels went down 20 percent. 

 In addition to air quality, the capital has also seen improvements to its water quality, the bureau said.

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