An official with MEP announced before the media today that heavy air pollution was observed in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and its surrounding area as well as some parts of the central and western China, due to unfavorable meteorological conditions and firework and firecracker spree during the traditional Lantern Festival.
According to this official, 17 out of the 161 domestic cities already monitoring ambient air quality in accordance with new air quality standards recorded heavy or even worse air pollution on February 13. Among others, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and its surrounding area suffered the severest pollution, with 10 local cities observed AQI readings at or above 201 (heavy pollution). Three of them, Baoding, Shijiazhuang, and Xingtai were hit the hardest by pollution, and the main pollutants were PM2.5 and PM10.
A total of 33 local cities recorded AQI readings at or above 201 by February 14, and the count of cities suffering heavy pollution was up by 16 from a day earlier.
Among the local cities in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and surrounding area, 5 cities (Shijiazhuang, Baoding, Xingtai, Beijing, and Hengshui) suffered severe pollution, 15 cities including Zhangjiakou, Langfang, and Handan recorded heavy pollution, another 15 cities including Chifeng, Yangquan, and Qinhuangdao observed minor or moderate pollution, and 4 cities (Erdos, Linfen, Changzhi, and Weihai) enjoyed good air quality. Shijiazhuang City registered the highest AQI within the region, and the main pollutants were PM2.5 (mean daily concentration up to 363 ¦Ìg/m3, as opposed to mean daily standard value at 75¦Ìg/m3) and PM10 (mean daily concentration up to 578 ¦Ìg/m3, as opposed to mean daily standard value at 150 ¦Ìg/m3).
In central China, 8 cities including Pingdingshan, Yichang, and Kaifeng observed heavy pollution, 11 cities including Jiaozuo, Luoyang, and Zhuzhou witnessed minor or moderate pollution, and Jiujiang and Nanchang enjoyed excellent air quality. Pingdingshan was the most polluted city in the region, with the mean daily concentration of PM2.5 at 212¦Ìg/m3 and of PM10 at 269 ¦Ìg/m3, and AQI up to 262.
In western China, 5 cities including Baoji, Weinan, and Tongchuan suffered from heavy air pollution, 16 cities including Yan¡¯an, Urumqi, and Shizuishan recorded minor or moderate pollution, and 9 cities including Zunyi, Lhasa, and Jiayuguan enjoyed good air quality. Baoji City recorded the highest AQI (294) within the region, with mean daily concentration of PM2.5 at 244 ¦Ìg/m3 and of PM10 at 260 ¦Ìg/m3.
The hourly concentration of PM2.5 elevated significantly between 18:00 and 23:00 on the night of February 14 in the 161 cities which have already enforced new ambient air quality standards, thanks to the firework and firecracker sprees, according to the source. By 22:00 that night, 57 out of the 161 cities observed the mean hourly concentration of PM2.5 above 150 ¦Ìg/m3 (mean daily standard value at 75¦Ìg/m3), which was rated as at least heavy pollution. Among others, 23 cities including Beijing, Tianjin, and Shijiazhuang suffered from severe pollution with the mean hourly concentration of PM2.5 above 250 ¦Ìg/m3.
February 14 was the deadline for firing fireworks and firecrackers within the 5th ring road of Beijing, so a lot of fireworks and firecrackers were fired that day. The mean hourly reading of PM2.5 had been on the rise between 18:00 (287¦Ìg/m3) and 23:00 (501¦Ìg/m3), and the air quality was rated as severe pollution.
According to the source, the meteorological conditions for pollution dispersion were poor on February 16, so Tianjin and northern part of Hebei Province recorded minor or moderate pollution, while Beijing and the central and southern part of Hebei suffered from heavy or even severe air pollution. The meteorological conditions was still poor on the following day, however, possible snow in parts of those regions may help clear the pollutants, so the northern part of Hebei recorded good air quality or minor pollution, Beijing still had heavy or severe pollution, and Tianjin and the central and southern part of Hebei observed minor or moderate pollution.