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Beijing meets state air quality standards 2021 for the first-time

Beijing meets state air quality standards 2021 for the first-time

The sun rises above Beijing, China, on a cloudy morning, November 18, 2021. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

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BEIJING (Reuters), Jan 4 (Reuters) – Beijing, the Chinese capital, met state air quality standards last year for the first time, officials announced Tuesday. This was in response to concerted efforts to reduce coal consumption, reduce transport emissions, and relocate heavy industries.

China declared war against pollution in 2014, after a series smog-related incidents in Beijing and other parts of the country triggered widespread anger.

Officials stated that the average readings of PM2.5, small, dangerous airborne particles, were 33 micrograms per cubic metre in Beijing for the entire of 2021. This is a decrease of 13% compared with a year ago and meets China’s interim standard, which is 35 micrograms, during a briefing Tuesday.

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

Yu Jianhua (deputy head of Beijing’s environment protection bureau) described Beijing’s efforts over the past decade and the speed of its improvements as “unprecedented”.

He said that “All regions and all the departments worked together and organized the whole society to achieve comprehensive improvements for Beijing’s air quality.”

He said that Beijing residents had enjoyed nearly four more months of clear skies in 2013 than they did in 2013.

Beijing had promised in 2015 that the Winter Olympics would be used to drive environmental improvements. Chinese President Xi Jinping also pledged to host a green Games. Continue reading

As an indicator of the progress made, the 2016 average PM2.5 readings were 71 micrograms. But, they often exceeded 500 micrograms during winter months, when the region’s coal-dominated heating systems were turned on.

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Since then, Beijing and Hebei have made great efforts to switch to cleaner natural gases and have 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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Reporting by David Stanway and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Simon CameronMoore

Our Standards The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles

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