• Sat
  • Aug 2, 2014
  • Updated: 7:48am

Beijing air pollution

The Chinese capital has for many years suffered from serious air pollution. Primary sources of pollutants include exhaust emission from Beijing's more than five million motor vehicles, coal burning in neighbouring regions, dust storms from the north and local construction dust. A particularly severe smog engulfed the city for weeks in early 2013, elevating public awareness to unprecedented levels and prompting the government to roll out emergency measures. 

NewsChina
ENVIRONMENT

Air quality in Beijing second worst out of 31 mainland cities

Lanzhou in Gansu has the worst conditions, says a green report based on government data, but Haikou is cleanest for residents to breathe

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 April, 2013, 5:42am

Air quality seriously deteriorated in some major metropolises on the mainland last year, but there were surprising improvements in a few cities, said an environmental report released in Beijing yesterday.

Beijing's air was the second-most polluted last year among 31 municipal and provincial capital cities ranked by Friends of Nature, a major non-governmental organisation, in its annual Green Book of Environment.

Liu Jianqiang , chief editor of the report, said that he could understand why some foreigners had reportedly left Beijing for better air. "They made a wise decision because I don't think Beijing's air quality will improve any time soon," he said. "Many locals, in fact, have the same idea. But we have nowhere to go."

Lanzhou, in the northwestern province of Gansu, finished 31st, below Beijing.

Haikou, in the southernmost province of Hainan, was said to have the cleanest air last year, followed by Kunming, Yunnan and Lhasa, Tibet. Guangzhou ranked fifth, and Shanghai was ninth. The results were based on government-provided figures on air pollutants, including sulphur dioxide and fine particles.

While some rankings stayed more or less the same over the past few years, those of other cities changed considerably.

For example, Tianjin was ranked 17th in 2011, but fell to 26th last year, and Chengdu in Sichuan has slipped from 16th in 2010 to 19th in 2011 and 28th last year.

Chengdu residents blamed the serious decline in air quality to an infrastructure boom. The local government last year launched an unprecedented road-renovation project downtown to build a flyover above the Second Ring Road.

The construction is all over the city and it not only generates a lot of dust, but big traffic jams almost every day
Chengdu resident

"The construction is all over the city and it not only generates a lot of dust, but big traffic jams almost every day," said a resident. Officials are desperate to finish it before June to welcome the visit of President Xi Jinping to the Fortune Global Forum [to be held by Fortune magazine from June 6-8]."

Tianjin blamed its decline in air quality on the weather. An environmental protection official in the municipality told the website of the People's Daily in December that it missed air quality targets due to frequent dust storms in the spring of last year.

But a restaurant manager in Nankai district said people were worried about the rapid expansion of industrial centres. The local government had aspired to turn Tianjin into an engine of economic growth, he said. Heavy industry, coal-fired power plants, manufacturing and other polluting industrial sectors have been allowed to grow rapidly in so-called special economic zones.

But some cities saw their air improve. Hefei in Anhui moved up from 28th in 2011 to 13th last year. Resident Yang Caixia said she did not notice a dramatic improvement.

Chongqing , ranked 24th in 2008 had moved up to 10th by last year.

 

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

5

This article is now closed to comments

SpeakFreely
Everybody in china tries to save costs of doing biz but to scarify for cleaner air. This won't be changed quickly as china productivity is not competitive yet that they need to keep cost down.
dunndavid
Visited two power plant engineering firms this week in central China, promoting better industrial controls for lowering emissions. Was met with blank stares. This means that the power plants built in the next 3 years will be just as heavily polluting as those built over the last 10 years or so. You wonder whether China has the ability to improve anything.
OldPeak Toad
Where is Hong Kong? I thought we are part of China?
chaz_hen
One country, two pollution reporting mechanisms, mate.
OldPeak Toad
oh, must be my skewed view caused by recent developments at the political front: Two countries - one system . Theirs!
 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or