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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

Vehicles, construction projects worst polluters in Beijing: Survey

However, the study also found that coal consumption had decreased from 22% to just 3% in 2017, thanks to increased emphasis on clean energy sources over fossil fuels.

world Updated: May 17, 2018 12:49 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Commuters walk to work wearing pollution masks in Beijing last winter.
Commuters walk to work wearing pollution masks in Beijing last winter. (Reuters File)

Emissions from cars and aircraft and construction dust account for most of Beijing’s pollution, a new government-sponsored survey has said.

“Currently, mobile sources, including automobiles, boats and planes are the largest contributor for locally generated PM2.5 particulate matter that poses health dangers,” the China Daily quoted the survey as saying.

“The research has also found dust kicked up from roads and construction sites…to be on the rise. The proportion of its PM2.5 contribution increased from 14.3% in 2013 to 16% last year,” it added.

The second such survey on air pollution in Beijing revealed that in 2017, 45% of PM2.5 – fine particulate matter that is extremely hazardous to health – was from vehicles, and diesel-powered trucks were the worst offenders.

The government’s efforts to switch from fossil fuels to clean energy have shown some results.

“The research found…that the contribution from coal consumption decreased from about 22% to only 3% thanks to the shift in the region from bulk coal to clean energy sources for winter heating,” the survey said.

The survey’s conclusions were based on data collected from the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center, the Peking and Tsinghua universities and the Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the country’s top science research institute.

The first such survey was conducted in 2013 but it only focused on vehicular pollution.

The last survey measured only vehicles in the mobile sources category because of “inadequate monitoring and analysis capabilities”. Liu Baoxian, deputy head of the municipal monitoring center, said: “China had only started PM2.5 monitoring.”

Outside pollutants too play a major part in sullying Beijing’s air.

“The worse the air pollution in Beijing is, the bigger the contribution from outside pollutants, the latest research found. When the capital has been hit with heavy pollution, the proportion from outside pollutants went up by about 55 to 75 %,” the newspaper reported.

China’s work on curbing smog was recently recognised in a WHO report on pollution.

“WHO’s data captures impressive progress in China, where investment in clean energy, a national air pollution action plan and strict emissions standards have driven dramatic progress, with average PM2.5 levels in the cities…falling by 30% from 2013 to 2016,” Greenpeace said in a statement in May.

According to the WHO report, the conclusions were based on analysis of data from 60 cities across China.

First Published: May 16, 2018 14:53 IST