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Beijing issued its first air pollution red alert for 2016 on December 15, with choking smog expected to cover the city and surrounding areas in north China until December 21

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China sees improved quality of air, water environment: report

BEIJING, China, April 26 – China has seen a discernible improvement in air quality and further improvement in the quality of the surface water environment, according to a report submitted for deliberation at the ongoing session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee on Monday.

The air quality across the country also improved markedly in 2020, with 202 cities meeting air-quality standards, 45 more than during the previous year, according to the report by the State Council.

The number of heavily polluted days in key areas, such as the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, the Yangtze River Delta and the Fenwei Plain, fell sharply, it says.

The ozone concentration also declined in 2020, falling to 138 micrograms per cubic meter, down 6.8 percent year on year, the report adds. It was the first annual drop in China’s ozone concentration since 2015.

Meanwhile, the quality of surface water saw continued improvement, especially in key river basins, lakes and reservoirs. The water quality of the main stream of the Yangtze River reached at or above the Grade II in the country’s five-tier water quality system.

However, the problem of weather-influenced pollution still persists in China, the report says, with air pollution still present during the autumn and winter months, while damage to aquatic ecosystems is still common.

Efforts will be made this year to strengthen legislation concerning the ecological environment and law-enforcement inspection, in order to make solid progress in the battle against pollution, the report says. 

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