Beijing today wore the familiar look of thick smog blanketing the skyline, presenting a bleak picture amid reports of improvement in air quality. China has made heavy investments to replace coal fired heating plans with that of natural gas to reduce air pollution in the country. PM 2.5, the fine particulate matter that causes smog today touched 253, regarded very unhealthy as per the reading of the air quality bu the US Embassy in Beijing. The city wore the familiar look of thick smog blanketing the skyline presenting a bleak picture. The weather too turned very cold with temperature dropping to below zero.
Beijing and several cities in northern part of China have been witnessing heavy pollution for the several years due to massive industrialisation and high usage of coal besides massive expansion of automobiles. The pollutions levels in the city dropped this year as Beijing phased out more than 4,450 coal-fired stoves in 2017, reducing the capital city’s coal consumption by nearly three million tonnes, local authorities said. The move also reduced emissions of 5,500 tonnes of smoke and 6,600 tonnes of sulfur dioxide, the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said. As part of a campaign launched in 2013, Beijing has phased out about 99.8 per cent of coal-fired stoves in the city. Natural gas and other forms of clean energy are used to replace coal.
Environmental monitoring results show that Beijing’s average sulphur dioxide density, a major air pollutant, was 8 micrograms per cubic meter towards the end of October 2017, compared with the annual average density of 28 micrograms in 2013. Small stoves in Beijing’s suburban and rural areas, not covered by the central heating system, had been blamed for worsening the city’s smog during the winter. Beijing completed 338 projects to switch coal-fired heating to heating fuelled by natural gas in rural areas this year, involving 8.5 billion yuan (USD 1.3 billion) of investment, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.