China’s urban pollution levels are infamous and as such, the country has launched a ‘war on pollution’ in order to combat the dangerous levels of emissions. Unfortunately, the war is not going well as China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection announced that nearly 90 percent of the country’s major cities have failed to meet air quality standards set for 2014.
Despite the abysmal rate, it is still an improvement on last year’s results, as the country’s attempts to curb emissions slowly but surely take effect. According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s website only eight of China’s 74 cities managed to meet national standards on a series of pollution measures, which includes regular readings of particles found in the air, carbon monoxide and ozone.
The levels of air pollution in cities like Shanghai and Beijing have caused mass public concern about China’s environmental future, prompting the country to eliminate substandard industrial capacity and reduce coal consumption.
Only three cities met the standards in 2013, although they were quite remote and not industrial centers: Haikou on the island province of Hainan, the Tibetan capital of Lhasa and the coastal resort city of Zhoushan. Now, they’ve been joined by another five cities: Shenzhen, Huizhou and Zhuhai in southeast Guangdong province, Fuzhou in neighboring Fujian and Kunming in the southwest.
Unsurprisingly, of the 10 worst-performing cities, seven were located in the heavy industrial province of Hebei, which surrounds the capital, Beijing. They include Baoding, Xingtai, Shijiazhuang, Tangshan, Handan and Hengshui.
According to the ministry, the average PM2.5 reading in the Beijing-Hebei-Tianjin region stands at 93 micrograms per cubic meter, while the state standard is 35 micrograms. However, China is not expected to bring the national average down to that level before 2030. The government has already said that it aims to make Hebei a priority when it comes to emission reductions.