Friday, October 07, 2016

Clean Air, but Ozone is Peaking in Beijing

Blue skies and white clouds are no longer a rare sight in my home city of Beijing. Public anger over China’s toxic smog has pushed the central and city governments to tackle high levels of deadly PM2.5 particulates that can contribute to heart and lung disease. A new report from Clean Air Asia shows the crackdown is working; it found an average drop of 14.1% in PM2.5 levels across 74 cities in 2015.

But blue skies do not necessarily equate to clean air. Ozone levels have risen significantly, especially in major cities, according to a report published in September by the Clean Air Alliance of China (CAAC). The 2016 China Air Quality Management Assessment shows ozone levels have bucked the general downward trend in pollution levels, and risen significantly in some cities.

Ozone levels in Beijing rose a staggering 26.6% in a year. In Jiangsu province, home to vast swathes of Shanghai’s industrial hinterland, they rose 8.4%. These problems areas are China’s most developed areas. Beijing has a higher level of car ownership than anywhere else in China. And Beijing’s average duration of congestion per day rose to three hours in 2015, up from one hour and fifty-five minutes in 2014. More gridlock means more exhaust emissions. In Jiangsu and Shanghai, air quality suffers from the combination of high levels of car ownership and large industrial sectors.

Read the full article @ China Dialogue

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