• Sun
  • Jul 27, 2014
  • Updated: 4:32pm

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

Only 3 of 74 Chinese cities meet air quality standard

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 March, 2014, 8:27pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 March, 2014, 4:17am

Just three of 74 major cities recorded met national air quality standards throughout last year, a senior environmental official revealed yesterday in Beijing.

Only Haikou in Hainan, Lhasa in Tibet and Zhoushan in Zhejiang met new standards.

Shenzhen was among the 10 cities with the best air quality.

Wu Xiaoqing, deputy minister for environmental protection, said the smog-plagued Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area experienced air pollution on more than 60 per cent of days last year, the worst in the country.

Annual average levels of PM2.5 - tiny pollutant particles smaller than 2.5 microns that can penetrate deep into the lungs - reached 106 micrograms per cubic metre in the region, more than 10 times the World Health Organisation's safety limit of 10. The area also has seven of China's 10 most polluted cities.

Other built-up regions - city clusters in the Yangtze and Pearl River deltas - also registered chronic smog problems.

Wu said China was paying a "heavy, massive" environmental price for economic growth.

"Our measures to curb air, water and other types of pollution may somewhat stall the growth of our gross domestic product, but this is what we have to do," he said.

Wu said revisions to the Environmental Protection Law currently being considered would aim to increase fines for polluters so as to force factories to abide by emission limits.

The revision process has already taken more than a year because of fierce negotiations among interest groups, environmental law experts say.

Premier Li Keqiang last week told deputies attending the annual session of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, that the government would "declare war on pollution", but critics questioned the rhetoric, citing conflicting signals from the administration.

Environmental policy expert Wang Yi said the central government still maintained a strong economic growth target of 7.5 per cent, which made progress on cleaning up very difficult.

"The central government should put more resources into cleaning up. But actual spending on environment protection and energy conservation dropped by nearly 10 per cent," he said.

Some environmentalists also worry that the clean-up campaign may only create more environmental problems, as the leadership is encouraging moving dirty power-producing processes - such as turning coal into gas - in less developed regions.

But Wu defended the policy, saying the country's coal-rich western regions had a larger capacity to hold pollutants.

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pgrath1
What about Diaoyutai? Certainly they have good air quality.
No wonder China wants it so badly!
oxymoron19
Why would anyone be surprised ? In all aspects of life China always strives for quantity not quality. They deliberately taint their food supply and don't give squat about the air they breath because all that matters is fast money. All 3rd world countries lack vision and soon enough China would defeat itself without even having to start a war, that is, metaphorically speaking.
dunndavid
How much value is a standard that 95% fail to meet with little repercussion? Really encourages compliance, huh. Notice that no one is talking about sacrificing GDP for spending more money on the environment. That's for "next time." What is being talked about is not tackling pollution at the source, but rather pollution shifting, i.e. transferring pollution from west to east. Which is a great policy except #1 vast amounts will be squandered on shutting down capacity in one location and recreating similar production in another location, when that money could be spent on reducing pollution at the existing source. #2 many of the power plants and factories in question use copious amounts of water, whereas Western China is very short of water. Finally China winds tend to blow west to east and rivers similarly run west to east. Failing to reduce pollution at the source could actually expose more of the country to pollution than happens currently increasing the impact of pollution.
newgalileo
While you make some good points, my studies show the government is aware of all that and does have serious plans to do something, rather than only shifting the pollution around. As such I am a little more positive but as always in China, implementation is the problem. Today however, the government has little choice but to act as now the Chinese people are aware of the huge problem, not just people like me (foreigner). Read "Toxic Capitalism" ...
 
 
 
 
 

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