More than half of China’s cities saw air quality improve year-on-year in September, the Chinese Environment Ministry has said.
The average density of PM 2.5 stood at 25 micrograms per cubic meter in September in 338 cities, down 16.7 per cent from the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.
These cities enjoyed good air quality on 90.8 per cent of the days last month, up 2.6 per cent, Xinhua news agency said.
The world’s most populous nation has over 600 cities and is grappling with chronic pollution which kills about one million people annually.
China is the world’s biggest coal producer and alone burns half of it, leading to severe pollution. The country is also the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.
However, the government has cracked down heavily on the polluting industries, shutting many of them. In July, the government released a three-year action plan to tackle the problem.
It also punishes top officials for not doing enough to rein in pollution.
Beijing is no longer the world’s most polluted city.
In the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the share of days with good air quality in September stood at 79.2 per cent, a year-on-year increase of 27.8 percentage points, while the PM 2.5 density of the region dropped by 33.3 per cent on year to 36 micrograms per cubic meter, the Ministry was quoted by Xinhua as saying.
In the first three quarters of this year, 7 out of 20 cities with the worst air quality were in northern Shanxi province, China’s coal-producing hub.
According to the action plan released in July, by 2020, emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide should have dropped by more than 15 per cent over the 2015 levels, while cities that fail to meet the requirement of PM 2.5 density should see a decline of more than 18 per cent from 2015 levels. (IANS)