Better air breathed in Shanghai

The city's air quality has improved this year with a near 18 percent drop in the average PM2.5 particle density from January to September.

Shanghai has enjoyed better air conditions this year with the average concentration of the hazardous to health PM2.5 particles dropping to 37 micrograms per cubic meter over the first nine months of the year.

This figure is 17.4 percent lower than the same period last year, according to the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau.

By September, the number of days with perfect air quality reached 202 this year, raising the rate to 74 percent, a 0.3 percent increase on last year, data showed.

About 30 percent of the city's PM2.5 emission comes from vehicles and vessels. This problem can be alleviated by controlling such emissions and promoting new energy vehicles, officials said. So far there are more than 720,000 residents in the city registered as members of time-sharing leases of new energy cars.

The local transport authority said there are now 5,800 "eco-friendly buses" running in Shanghai, accounting for 35 percent of the total. This year 2,100 buses will be replaced by new energy versions. More public charging facilities will be built to form a larger charging network for new energy cars.

The city's water quality has improved, too.

Rivers found with poorer water quality was 15 percent down on last year.

The bureau said this year it had handled over 3,900 cases with fines of 390 million yuan (US$59 million) by last month — a rise of 130 percent. Firms that discharge pollutants without permission, forge monitoring data and whose emissions exceeds the limit were punished heavily by law enforcement officials.

But the problem of environmental law enforcement’s labor shortage still exists with the growing need of crackdown on environmental damage.

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