Bei­jing sees lit­tle im­prove­ment in air qual­ity in 2013

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHENG XIN zhengxin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

De­spite pledges in the last year to fight pol­lu­tion, Bei­jing saw barely any im­prove­ment in air qual­ity in 2013.

The in­ten­sity of ma­jor air pol­lu­tants re­mained much the same in 2013 as they were in the pre­vi­ous year, fig­ures re­leased by the Bei­jing En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Bureau on Thurs­day in­di­cate.

PM2.5, air­borne par­tic­u­late mat­ter smaller than 2.5 mi­crom­e­ters in di­am­e­ter, was 2.5 times the na­tional stan­dard, it said.

Au­thor­i­ties be­gan to mon­i­tor and pub­lish PM2.5 lev­els in 2013.

“It’s a long process to fight the cap­i­tal’s pol­lu­tion,” Fang Li, spokesman for the bureau, said at a news con­fer­ence on Thurs­day.

The PM2.5 read­ing in 2013 was on av­er­age 89.5 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter. By com­par­i­son, the na­tional stan­dard stands at 35 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter.

PM2.5 was found to be the ma­jor pol­lu­tant — ac­count­ing for 77.8 per­cent — on most smoggy days.

South­ern Bei­jing saw much higher PM2.5 read­ings in 2013 com­pared with the north.

As for other ma­jor air pol­lu­tants, the fig­ures showed a slight re­duc­tion in the av­er­age in­ten­sity of sul­fur diox­ide and PM10 com­pared with 2012, but ni­tro­gen diox­ide in­creased by 7 per­cent year-on-year.

The most heav­ily pol­luted days were in Jan­uary 2013, se­ri­ously af­fect­ing the year’s av­er­age read­ing, said Yu Jian­hua, a Bei­jing En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Bureau of­fi­cial.

Zhang Dawei, head of the Bei­jing En­vi­ron­men­tal Mon­i­tor­ing Center, said that com­pared with 1998, the in­ten­sity of sul­fur diox­ide de­clined by 78 per­cent, ni­tro­gen diox­ide by 24 per­cent and PM10 by 43 per­cent.

But con­sid­er­ing the ris­ing num­ber of au­to­mo­biles and the in­creas­ing en­ergy con­sump­tion in all walks of life, Bei­jing’s goal to re­duce PM2.5 con­cen­tra­tion to 60 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter by the end of 2017 — down 25 per­cent from 2012 — will “re­main very chal­leng­ing”, he said.

“The stricter stan­dards re­quire the cap­i­tal to come up with more strin­gent mea­sures,” he said.

A re­port re­leased by the Chi­nese Academy of Sciences on Mon­day said sec­ondary in­or­ganic aerosols — fine, solid par­ti­cles com­pris­ing sul­fate and ni­trate that re­sult from a pho­to­chem­i­cal re­ac­tion — are re­spon­si­ble for 26 per­cent of Bei­jing’s PM2.5, whereas ve­hi­cle emis­sions ac­count for about 4 per­cent.

How­ever, the bureau con­tra­dicted that re­port on Thurs­day, say­ing that au­to­mo­bile emis­sions are still the ma­jor source of PM2.5 in Bei­jing.

Fig­ures from the bureau re­veal that au­to­mo­bile emis­sions ac­count for 22.2 per­cent of PM2.5 con­cen­tra­tion, af­ter pol­lu­tion from neigh­bor­ing prov­inces (24.5 per­cent). It is fol­lowed by coal con­sump­tion (16.7 per­cent), in­dus­trial pol­lu­tion (16.3 per­cent) and dust (15.8 per­cent).

LIU DA­JIA / FOR CHINA DAILY

Street stat­ues in Wuhan, Hubei prov­ince, on Dec 25 re­flect on­go­ing pub­lic con­cern with PM2.5 pol­lu­tion.

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