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Beijing meets national air quality standards | Environment News

Beijing meets national air quality standards | Environment News

A policeman, wearing a mask to protect from severe pollution, secures the area near the Great Hall of the People before the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing, March 3, 2016.

A concerted effort to reduce coal consumption, reduce transportation emissions, and relocate heavy industries will result in improved air quality.

Beijing, China’s capital, has met its national air quality standards last year for the first time. This was according to officials. It was achieved through concerted efforts to reduce coal consumption, transport emissions, and relocate heavy industry.

China declared war upon pollution in 2014 after a series incontinences in Beijing and elsewhere caused widespread anger.

On Tuesday, officials from Beijing’s environmental protection bureau informed reporters that the average readings of PM2.5, small, dangerous airborne particles, were 33 micrograms per square metre in the capital. This is a drop of 13 percent compared to a year ago and meets China’s interim standard of 35 micrograms.

The annual average of 33 milligrams per year is still significantly higher than the recommended World Health Organization level (5 micrograms).

A policeman, wearing a mask to protect from severe pollution, secures the area near the Great Hall of the People before the opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing, March 3, 2016.A policeman in a mask protects from severe pollution as he secures the Great Hall of the People area before the opening session of the Chinese Peoples Political Consultative Conference. [File: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters]

Yu Jianhua, deputy head of Beijing’s environmental protection bureau, described Beijing’s achievements over the past 10 years as well as its rapid improvements as being unprecedented.

He said that all regions and all departments collaborated and organized the entire society to achieve significant improvements in Beijing’s air quality.

He added that Beijing residents enjoyed almost four months more clear skies last year than in 2013.

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Beijing had promised in 2015 that it would use the Winter Olympics in 2022 as a way to improve its environment. Chinese President Xi Jinping also promised to host a green Games.

In 2016 the average PM2.5 reading was 71 mg. But, they often reached 500 mg during winter months, when the region’s coal-dominated heating systems were turned on.

Beijing and Hebei, the province to the east, have made great efforts to switch to cleaner natural gases. They have built vast solar farms and wind farms and planted a lot of trees throughout the region.

They also imposed stricter fuel standards on cars, and forced steel mills and other industrial plants to install equipment that reduces emissions.

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