Last year was the best yet for clean air

Ke Jiayun
The Shanghai Ecology and Environment Bureau says the city enjoyed 80 days in 2019 when the air quality was perfect while 229 were good and just one day in May was heavily polluted.
Ke Jiayun

Better air quality was recorded in 2019 than in previous years, the Shanghai Ecology and Environment Bureau announced on Wednesday, with the yearly average concentration of PM2.5 particles dropping to 35 micrograms per cubic meter, 2.8 percent lower than in 2018.

The excellent and good rate of the city's air quality index last year reached 84.7 percent, an increase of 3.6 percentage points.

Shanghai had 80 days when air quality was recorded as perfect and 229 days when it was good. There were 48 days of light pollution and seven of moderate pollution.

There was only one day of heavy pollution, in May, with ozone the main pollutant.

The yearly average concentration of sulfur dioxide and PM10 particles was 7 and 45 micrograms per cubic meter, respectively. The yearly and daily average concentration of carbon monoxide was recorded at 0.66 milligrams per cubic meter and a range from 0.3 to 1.6 milligrams per cubic meter.

All these figures, along with the ozone concentration, met Chinese standards.

However, the concentration of nitrogen dioxide failed to reach the standard. At 42 micrograms per cubic meter it was 2 micrograms higher than the set standard.

PM2.5 particles are no longer the major problem in the city. When the PM2.5 concentration gets lower, nitrogen dioxide and ozone start to pollute the city's air more often.

Of the 56 polluted days in 2019, there were 26 with ozone as the major pollutant and 25 with PM2.5 particles as the main pollutant.

According to the bureau, winter is the season with highest monthly average pollution concentration. Southern areas of Shanghai received more PM2.5 and PM10 particles as well as sulfur dioxide than eastern areas. Nitrogen dioxide occurred more frequently in downtown areas than the outskirts.

To combat air pollution, the bureau strictly controlled the consumption of coal in industry last year and had firms renovate polluting facilities. It promoted the use of new energy cars with 63,000 more such cars added to the market. Some 11,000 new energy buses and 11,000 new energy logistics vehicles had been introduced, along with 1,877 new energy taxis.

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