Only 4 of 28 north­ern cities meet smog tar­gets

Pol­lu­tion-prone cities will find it even harder to bat­tle bad air as win­ter ar­rives

The Straits Times - - ASIA -

SHANG­HAI Only four of 28 north­ern Chi­nese cities met their air qual­ity tar­gets in Oc­to­ber, of­fi­cial data showed yes­ter­day, rais­ing ques­tions about the coun­try’s abil­ity to re­duce the smog that typ­i­cally de­vel­ops dur­ing the win­ter.

The 28 cities in and around the smog-prone Beijing-He­bei-Tian­jin re­gion were or­dered in Au­gust to draw up plans to thin traf­fic and re­duce in­dus­trial ac­tiv­ity from Oc­to­ber this year to March next year, part of ef­forts to slash con­cen­tra­tions of haz­ardous air­borne par­tic­u­late mat­ter that is less than 2.5 mi­crons (PM2.5) by at least 15 per cent year-on-year.

But the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion said only the cap­i­tal Beijing, Baod­ing and Shi­ji­azhuang in neigh­bour­ing He­bei prov­ince, as well as Anyang in He­nan prov­ince, ac­tu­ally met their tar­gets for last month.

“Ac­cord­ing to fore­casts, over­all win­ter weather con­di­tions in the Beijing-Tian­jin-He­bei re­gion will not be favourable, with the abil­ity to dis­perse at­mo­spheric pol­lu­tion rel­a­tively weak, mak­ing the tar­gets even more dif­fi­cult to achieve,” the min­istry said in a bul­letin pub­lished on its web­site.

Beijing is aim­ing to cut PM2.5 by as much as 25 per cent over the win­ter months as it strives to meet a tar­get to bring con­cen­tra­tions down to less than 60 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­tre for the whole of 2017.

Beijing’s PM2.5 fell to an av­er­age of 57mcg last month.

The av­er­age across the 28 cities stood at 61mcg, still higher than China’s of­fi­cial stan­dard of 35mcg and the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion rec­om­men­da­tion of no higher than 10mcg.

Of the to­tal, 17 cities saw PM2.5 con­cen­tra­tions fall last month, in­clud­ing the mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Tian­jin and the ma­jor steel pro­duc­ing city of Tang­shan. The city of Jincheng in Shanxi prov­ince was the worst per­former, with av­er­age emis­sions ris­ing 139.1 per cent com­pared with a year ear­lier. It has tar­geted a cut of 10 per cent this win­ter.

Cities in Shanxi have promised to re­duce PM2.5 by as much as 50 per cent over the win­ter months, and the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment has also said it will hold se­nior mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials fully ac­count­able for fail­ing to meet the tar­gets.

China is tar­get­ing PM2.5 be­cause the mat­ter can lodge in the lungs and cause car­dio­vas­cu­lar and res­pi­ra­tory dis­eases.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.