Beijing plans to beat smog by 2030

Beijing, Jan 5 (IANS) China’s capital Beijing reached its annual target for reducing hazardous pollutants in 2015 and is drafting a long-term plan to improve air quality to a clean level by 2030, the media reported on Tuesday.

In 2015, the capital saw 186 days with air quality that was better than the national safety standard, 14 days more than the number in 2014, said the annual report on air pollution control from the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau on Monday.

Additionally, from the detailed data on hazardous pollutants, the annual average reading in Beijing of PM2.5-airborne particulate matter with a diametre less than 2.5 microns that can penetrate the lungs and harm health-fell to 80.6 micrograms per cubic metre in 2015, the China Daily quoted the report as saying.

The annual reading was a reduction of 6.2 percent year-on-year, surpassing the annual goal of a five percent reduction. However, the reading was still above the national safety standard of 75 micrograms per cubic meter.

Despite the goal’s achievement, some residents have called for a bigger improvement, especially since experiencing spells of severe smog in the capital since November.

“PM2.5 pollution is still the prominent problem in Beijing and requires strengthened efforts,” said Fang Li, deputy director of the bureau.

There was a clear reduction in the three other major airborne pollutants — sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and PM10. The annual average reading for sulfur dioxide, for example, was lowered to 13.5 micrograms per cubic metre in 2015, much better than the national safety standard of 60, the report said.

However, the municipal government has issued two red alerts, the highest emergency response, to control the worsening conditions. Thus, many people thought the target would be missed.

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