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293 cities in China saw lower-than-standard air quality in 2015

20 January 2016 9:36


Nearly 300 cities in China failed to meet national standards for air quality last year, Greenpeace environmental group says.

The international group said in a Wednesday report that a total of 293 – or 80 percent – of the 366 cities whose data it analyzed did not meet China’s own air quality standards in 2015.

According to Chinese national standards, the yearly average of PM2.5 – Particulate Matter up to 2.5 micrometers in size, which is small enough to deeply penetrate the lungs – should not be more than 35 micrograms per cubic meter; the World Health Organization (WHO)’s standard is 10 micrograms per cubic meter.

None of the cities in the study met WHO standards. The average level of PM2.5 in the cities monitored was over five times the maximum recommended by WHO, the report added.

With an average of 80.4 micrograms per cubic meter, the Chinese capital, Beijing, was the 27th most polluted city in the survey. According to Greenpeace, it had 26 days of “heavy air pollution” in the final three months of 2015.

“The principal reason for this higher frequency of smog in Beijing and surrounding areas this winter was wind and humidity conditions,” Greenpeace said, adding, however, “Though weather conditions help smog develop, the origin of the pollution remains heavy coal burning across northern China.”

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