Report On the State
of the Environment In China
The overall urban air quality across China was basically the same as that of 2003 with certain improvement in some cities with very heavy air pollution. The percentage of cities failing to meet Grade III air quality standard decreased, but so did the percentage of cities meeting Grade II air quality standard. Among the 342 cities under air quality monitoring in 2004, 132 cities met Grade II standard for ambient air quality (the standard for resident areas), accounting for 38.6%, 3.1 percentages points lower than that of 2003. 141 reached Grade III standard, taking up 41.2% and 9.7 percentages points higher than that of 2003; 69 cities had air quality worse than Grade III, accounting for 20.2%, 6.6 percentage points drop than that of the previous year.
(Note: ">"in the figure means failing to meet Grade III standard.)
Percentage comparison of urban air quality at different quality standard in 2003 and 2004
Percentages of the population exposed to air at different qualities
Big cities and metropolises with a population exceeding one million usually had the highest failing rate in meeting air quality standard in terms of major pollutants such as SO2 and particulate matters. As a result, they had a low up-to-standard percentage in terms of urban air quality.
Comparison of the percentage of cities(PC) with particulate concentration at different level in 2003 and 2004
In 74.3% of the cities in mainland China, the annual average concentration of SO2 met Grade Ⅱstandard (0.06 mg/m3), similar to that of the previous year. 9.1% of the cities saw the concentration over GradeⅢ(0.10g/m3) standard, 3 percentage points lower than that of last year. The cities heavily polluted by SO2 were mainly in such provinces or municipalities as Shanxi, Hebei, Henan, Hunan, Hubei, Yunnan, Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Guizhou, Guangxi, Sichuan and Chongqing.
Percentage of cities (PC) with different levels of SO2 concentration
NO2 concentration in all those cities met GradeⅡquality standard, however, it was relatively higher in big cities such as Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shanghai and Chongqing.
Comparison of SO2 pollution level of the ‘Two Control Zones’ in 2003 and 2004
Air quality in key cities on pollution prevention and
control. Of the 113 key cities on air pollution prevention and control, 33 cities met GradeⅡair qualities standard, taking up 29.2%. 51 met Grade Ⅲ standard, accounting for 45.1%; 29 experienced air quality worse than Grade Ⅲ, taking up 25.7% of the total. Compared with last year, the number of cities meeting air quality standard was declined by 4, but the number of cities with air quality worse than Grade Ⅲ standard was cut down by 7.
Comparison of comprehensive pollution indexes among the 47 key environmental protection cities
Acid rain: In 2004, the average annual pH value of precipitation in 527 cities (counties) across the country ranged from 3.05 (Jishou city, Hunan Province) to 8.4 (Jiayuguan city, Gansu Province). Acid rain occurred in 298 cities, 56.5% of all cities monitored. The average annual pH value of precipitation in 218 cities was below 5.6, taking up 41.4% of the total. Among them, the rain pH value of Changsha, Changde and Jishou in Hunan Province, Shaoguang in Guangdong Province and Gao’an in Jiangxi Province was less than 4.0, indicating high acidity of the precipitation. 30.1% of all the cities had acid rain incidence over 40%, among which the incidence of acid rain of Changde of Hunan Province, Dexing of Jiangxi Province, Lishui, Anji and Kaihua of Zhejiang Province was at 100%.
Percentage of cities with different acidities of their precipitation in 2003 and 2004
Percentage of cities with different frequencies of acid rain occurrence
In comparison with the previous year, the number of cities that experienced acid rain rose by 2.1 percentage points; the percentage of cities with annual rain pH value equal to 5.6 or below increased by 4 percentage points. Among them, cities with rain pH value less than 4.5 rose by 2 percentage points. The percentage of cities with acid rain incidence exceeding 80% was up by 1.6 percentage points. The percentages of cities with both low annual average rain pH value and high frequency of acid rain occurrence rose compared with that of 2003, indicating that acid rain pollution had intensified.
Precipitation acidity distribution across China in 2004
Acid Rain Control Zones: Among the 112 cities within Acid Rain Control Zones, the annual average pH value of precipitation ranged from 3.05 (Jishou city, Hunan Province) to 7.26 (Binzhou, Hunan Province). Acid rain occurred in 101 cities, taking up 90.2% of the total. In the order of 83 cities had annual average pH value of precipitation was less than or equal to 5.6, accounting for 74.1% and 3.4 percentage points higher than that of 2003. The percentage of cities with annual average pH value under 4.5 rose by 6.4 percentage points. Among them, Shaoguang of Guangdong Province, Changsha, Changde and Jishou cities of Hunan Province witnessed pH value below 4.0. There were 67 cities with the frequency of acid rain occurrence over 40%, taking up 59.8% of the total, 6.1 percentage points higher than that of 2003. The coverage of acid rain pollution within the Acid Rain Control Zones remained largely the same, but with aggravated pollution.
Emission Amount of Major Air Pollutants
The total amount of SO2 emission was 22.549 million tons across China in 2004, among which 18.914 million tons were from industrial sources, and 3.635 million tons from domestic sources. The emission of soot was 10.95 million tons, among which 8.865 million tons were from industries and 2.085 million tons from domestic sources. The total emission of industrial dust was 9.04 million tons.
Countermeasures and Actions
【Prevention and control of vehicle exhaust emission】 China became the world fourth largest automobile producer and the third auto consumer in 2004. It manufactured 5.07 million automobiles, 17 million motorcycles and 2 million farm transport vehicles in 2004, and had accumulated 27.42 million automobiles, 79 million motorcycles and 25 million farm vehicles. Among the 310 million tons of petroleum consumed in China in 2004, one third was utilized as fuel for vehicles.
1,037 coal-burning boilers had been transformed, so had over 80% of the 16,000 boilers with the capacity below 20 tons. Progress had been made in the central heating system and transformation of boilers in satellite cities and towns of the capital. In addition, Beijing Municipal Government enforced the
National Vehicle Emission Standard--the StageⅡLimit for Heavy Gas-fuel Vehicles and
Motorcycles, promulgated local standards for vehicle fuels, and washed out around 110,000 outdated vehicles. Furthermore, it also formulated environmental protection standards for construction sites and worked out emergency plans for sand and dust storms. Fourteen enterprises that had caused heavy pollution and strong public complaints were streamlined, transformed, ceased operation or closed, and 28 major polluting enterprises were urged to develop emission reduction program and receive public supervision.