Beijing’s suffocating smog has been grabbing global headlines for the past year. And the disturbing images coming from the Chinese capital have spurred Premiere Li Keqiang to declare a “war on pollution.” However, China’s pollution problem is not confined to just Beijing. Last year, nine other cities suffered from more days of severe smog. According to a new analysis from Greenpeace’s Energy Desk, Xingtai, Shijiazhuang, Baoding, Handan, Hengshui, Langfang, Jinan, Tangshan and Zhengzhou all experienced a significant number of “very unhealthy” days when compared to acceptable fine particulate (PM2.5) levels in the U.S. air quality index.

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China, pollution, smog, air quality Image © Andy Qiang

“China’s air pollution crisis usually makes the headlines when the smog cloud hits Beijing, but this research shows just how widespread this problem really is. There are now millions of Chinese people living in cities with air pollution above emergency levels for a third of the year, while other urban areas have gone a whole 12-month period with hardly any days of good-quality air,” said Greenpeace east Asia climate and energy campaigner Fang Lifeng.

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Xingtai leads China with the worst pollution. The city of nearly seven million located southwest of Beijing experienced 129 days of “unhealthy air” or worse in 2013, which is more than twice as many emergency level days as the capital suffered through.

Amazingly, Chinese cities aren’t even in the top ten for the world’s worst outdoor air pollution. Four of the most polluted cities in the world are in Iran, two in India, two in Pakistan, one in Mongolia and one in Botswana.

+ 2013 Chinese Cities Air Quality Rankings

Via The Guardian

Lead image via Mike Williams

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