Today’s Solutions: May 19, 2022

The Chinese capital of Beijing is a cultural and economic hub for the country, but unfortunately, it is also known for its hazardous air pollution. Seven years after the government launched its “war on pollution” in the city, the area is finally seeing some positive results.

The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Ecology and Environment reported that concentrations of fine particulate matter known as PM2.5 fell 14.3 percent in the first 11 months of 2019. This is the lowest level of air pollution since the monitoring system began in 2013.

The average concentration of PM2.5 in Beijing was 42 micrograms per cubic meter for 2019, which is far above China’s national goal of 35, but if this progress continues, Beijing may soon be removed from the list of the top 200 most polluted cities.

The positive change is due to the rapid response from the Chinese government including shuttering all coal-fired plants, encouraging residents to replace coal-fired boilers with natural gas and electricity, and investing in electric vehicles

While China continues its coal investment in other areas of the country and abroad, this air quality improvement is a positive example that rapid pollution amelioration is possible with large scale proactive policies.

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