Bei­jing-Tian­jin-He­bei re­gion’s prob­lem is shared by many de­vel­oped coun­tries

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By ZHENG JINRAN zhengjin­ran @chi­nadaily.com.cn

The smog-filled Bei­jing-Tian­jin-He­bei re­gion has seen im­prove­ment in com­bat­ing par­tic­u­late pol­lu­tion, such as PM2.5, since 2013, but faces wors­en­ing ground-level ozone pol­lu­tion dur­ing the sum­mers, a chal­lenge many de­vel­oped coun­tries share, a new re­port from Pek­ing Univer­sity said.

The 13 cities in the Bei­jingTian­jin-He­bei re­gion last year saw the an­nual av­er­age con­cen­tra­tion of ground-level ozone in­crease by 13.1 per­cent, com­pared with the level in 2013, the re­port said.

The re­port was con­ducted by the Cen­ter for Sta­tis­ti­cal Sci­ence and the Guanghua School of Man­age­ment, both based at Pek­ing Univer­sity, us­ing data re­leased from the 73 State-con­trolled air qual­ity mon­i­tor­ing sta­tions and 25 me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal sta­tions in the re­gion be­tween March 2013 and May 2015.

“The anal­y­sis has clearly showed the sharp de­cline of the ma­jor air­borne pol­lu­tants since 2013, es­pe­cially of par­tic­u­late mat­ter, be­cause a pack­age of strong con­trol mea­sure ini­ti­ated in past years works,” Chen Songxi, di­rec­tor of the statis­tics cen­ter and sur­vey leader, said on Tues­day.

The an­nual av­er­age con­cen­tra­tion of PM2.5 de­creased last year by 27 per­cent since 2013, and PM10 fell by 31 per­cent last year, com­pared with the 2013 level, ac­cord­ing the re­port, re­leased on Satur­day.

PM2.5 and PM10 re­fer to fine par­tic­u­late mat­ter, with di­am­e­ters mea­sured in mi­crons, and are reg­u­larly mon­i­tored.

“The re­gion is likely to reach the tar­get of re­duc­ing the con­cen­tra­tion by 25 per­cent by the end of 2017 from the level in 2013,” the re­port said.

The an­nual lev­els of sul­fur diox­ide and car­bon monox­ide dropped dra­mat­i­cally in the past four years, and ni­tro­gen diox­ide con­cen­tra­tion dipped.

But among other ma­jor pol­lu­tants, ground-level ozone con­cen­tra­tion has in­creased in the 13 cities be­tween 2013 and 2016, the re­port said.

“In sum­mers, this in­vis­i­ble oxy­gen pol­lu­tion wors­ened, and gov­ern­ments should set re­duc­tion tar­gets to con­trol it, like they did in com­bat­ing PM2.5,” said Chen.

High ozone con­cen­tra­tion at ground level could lead to breath­ing prob­lems, lung dis­eases and asthma, the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion has said.

Since May 1, Bei­jing has had 53 days with ex­ces­sive groundlevel ozone con­cen­tra­tion, in­creas­ing 7 per­cent above the an­nual av­er­age in the same pe­riod of the past five years, said Dong Xin, an en­gi­neer at the Bei­jing En­vi­ron­men­tal Mon­i­tor­ing Cen­ter.

“But it doesn’t mean the con­trols are not work­ing, be­cause the in­creased ozone has a close re­la­tion with the strong sun­shine,” she said.

Many de­vel­oped coun­tries have faced the prob­lem in sum­mers, as well.

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