Just 3 out of 74 ‘major Chinese cities’ subject to national air quality standards were able to meet their goals last year, as Shanghai, Beijing, and the Pearl River Delta gleefully spewed steaming clouds of smog all year long. The clean-aired winners are Haikou (Hainan), Lhasa (Tibet), and Zhoushan (Zhejiang).
The fact that one could count China’s clean cities on one hand and still have fingers to spare isn’t particularly encouraging, but the three cities above were the only large metropolitan areas to boast an average annual AQI below 100. As of the time of this article, Shanghai is running a cool 124 AQI and Beijing is hitting 284, not a good sign for either city’s 2014 average.
While Haikou, Lhasa, and Zhoushan placed at the top, many of China’s northern cities snuck in on the bottom of the list; the worst offenders include seven cities in Hebei, Xi’an in Shaanxi, and Zhengzhou in Henan.
China Daily says that the country’s smoggiest areas account for “only 8 percent of China’s territory but consumed 43 percent of its coal,” which, oh hey, may have something to do with why their air is made of death.