Beijing Meets Chinese Air Quality Standards for the First Time
Chinese officials report that Beijing met state air quality standards for the first time last year. This has been achieved by reducing the use of coal, reducing emissions from transport and relocating heavy industry.
To assess the air quality, the concentration of the particulate matter PM2.5 was examined. On average, 33 micrograms per cubic meter were measured last year, 2 micrograms below the state standard. In 2016, the average was still 71 micrograms per cubic meter. However, Beijing is still well above the average of 5 micrograms recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
China announced plans to fight air pollution in 2014 after the public sparked outrage over dangerous, heavy smog in Beijing and elsewhere.
The capital’s efforts and the speed of improvements are “unprecedented,” said Yu Jianhua, deputy head of Beijing’s environmental protection agency. Residents of the capital enjoyed nearly four months more clear skies last year than in 2013, Yu added.
After the 2022 Winter Olympics were awarded to Beijing in 2015, authorities said they would use the event as an incentive to improve air quality. President Xi Jinping promised to organize a “green” Games. The international event starts early next month.