The environment ministry said yesterday that air quality in China’s largest cities has continued to improve during the first half of the year.
According to Shanghai Daily, the largest 338 cities enjoyed more clean air days during the first six months of the year than in 2015. If the figures are to be believed, 76.7 percent of all days between January and the end of June enjoyed clean air.
Aggregating the data appears to help massage the situation for those living in the industrial areas of the country, as Beijing, Tianjin and 11 other cities in Hebei province only saw 57.4 percent of days having “good air quality.” This, however, was still 11 percentage points better than 2015.
Concentrations of PM2.5 still averaged 64 micrograms per cubic meter in the first half of the year, significantly higher than the official state standard of 35 micrograms, and the World Health Organization’s guideline of an annual average of no more than 10 micrograms.
Shanghai and 24 other cities along the Yangtze River Delta recorded 72.9 percent of days with good air quality, a year-on-year increase of 3.8 percent. Life is even better for those living in either Guangdong or Shenzhen, with 94.7 percent of days said to be relatively smog free.
The figures produced by the Ministry of Environmental Protection are of course only useful when comparing against domestic data from previous years. China’s air pollution standards are about half as stringent as those adhered to by the US or EU.