Bei­jing says less air pol­lu­tion in first part of year, re­ports 19% drop in 1st 3 months

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

A key mea­sure of air pol­lu­tants in main­land China’s cap­i­tal showed a 19 per­cent drop in the first three months of the year, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties said Wed­nes­day.

Bei­jing’s mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment said Wed­nes­day that the den­sity of PM2.5 — harm­ful par­ti­cles that are smaller than 2.5 mi­crons in di­am­e­ter — was 92.7 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter for the quar­ter, an im­prove­ment from 114 in the same pe­riod last year. The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion safety level for an an­nual av­er­age is 10 mi­cro­grams, and the main­land’s own stan­dards set the safety level at 35 mi­cro­grams.

De­spite the im­prove­ment, Bei­jing re­mains one of the most pol­luted cities in China, ac­cord­ing to the en­vi­ron­men­tal group Green­peace.

Drawing on gov­ern­men­tal data, Green­peace said the den­sity level of PM2.5 in Bei­jing de­creased by 13 per­cent to 92.4 mi­cro­grams in the first quar­ter. Zhang Kai, cli­mate and en­ergy cam­paigner at Green­peace East Asia said the dis­crep­ancy may stem from two slightly dif­fer­ent data sets. He said Green­peace drew on raw, real-time data from 12 gov­ern­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing sites while Bei­jing au­thor­i­ties could have used re­vised data from more mon­i­tor­ing sites.

“But the gen­eral di­rec­tion and the over­all con­clu­sion are the same,” said Zhang, not­ing this is the first time such com­par­i­son is pos­si­ble af­ter Bei­jing be­gan to re­lease air pol­lu­tion data.

Bei­jing and main­land lead­ers have vowed to tackle the prob­lem of air pol­lu­tion.

In its state­ment, Bei­jing au­thor­i­ties said the lev­els of other pol­lu­tants, such as PM10, sul­fur diox­ide and ni­tro­gen diox­ide also dropped in the first quar­ter, by 8.8 per­cent, 42.9 per­cent and 11.4 per­cent re­spec­tively. Bei­jing usu­ally has its worst pol­lu­tion in Jan­uary through March be­cause of peo­ple heat­ing their homes in win­ter.

Au­thor­i­ties say the clo­sure of coal-fired fac­to­ries and sus­pen­sion of some con­struc­tion sites have con­trib­uted to bet­ter air in Bei­jing.

Green­peace said it wel­comes the trans­parency but urged main­land au­thor­i­ties not to re­lo­cate pol­lu­tion to less-de­vel­oped re­gions.

AP

Peo­ple ride bi­cy­cles past a busy traf­fic on Chang’an Av­enue dur­ing a rush hour in Bei­jing on Wed­nes­day, April 22.

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