China Air Quality | Did You Know

By William Lee

Despite all the news headline about China’s air pollution, the Chinese government has taken tremendous steps in tackling air pollution especially since 2013 with its implementation of the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan.

Local governments are instructed to give priority on environmental protection over economy development. China aims to reduce particulate matter (PM2.5) by over 10% from 2012 – 2017.

The plan also aims to:

1.) increase awareness about PM2.5 and air pollution

Since 2012, the government has built a nationwide network of monitors tracking levels of PM2.5 and made the info publicly available.

Their aim is to expand access to air-quality data, to increase awareness and motivate people to get involved in cutting pollution. The government then identify sources of pollution and come up with targeted and timetabled plans to cut that pollution.


2.) reduce emissions from coal burning industries

Local governments are eliminating industrial coal-fired boilers.

In March 2017 alone, the national government announced the closure or cancellation of 103 coal-fired power plants.

Residents are also provided with cleaner fuel to substitute burning low quality coal for heating during winter.

The target to reduce the percentage of coal in total energy consumption to 65% by 2017 was accomplished in 2015, ahead of schedule.


3.) increase in proportion of clean energy

China sees renewables as a source of energy security and a way to reduce carbon emission.
China currently has the world’s largest installed capacity of hydro, solar and wind power
and aims to contribute 20% to total energy generated by 2030.

China will further invest 2.5 trillion yuan (USD$367 billion) in renewable power generation in the next 3 years.

Now every hour, China erects another wind turbine and installs enough solar panels to cover a soccer field, according to Greenpeace estimates.

4.) promoting electric vehicles

Adoption of electric vehicles aims to reduce urban air pollution and its carbon emissions.
Subsidies and incentives are given to electric cars manufacturers and buyers.

With over 600,000 electric cars and 173,000 electric buses, China has now become the world’s largest stock of new electric vehicles.

China would build more than 12,000 new charging stations before 2020 to fulfill the demands of over 5 million plug-ins.

The plan was further elevated when the government recently announce its plan to phase out production and sales of fossil fuel cars in near future.


Improvements have been seen. Beijing has seen consistent drops in annual PM2.5 levels over the past three years, initially by just 4%, but more recently by as much as 10%. Most Chinese are optimistics that the condition will get better in the future.

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