Report On the State of the Environment In China
Water Environment
Marine Environment
Atmospheric Environment
Acoustic Environment
Solid Waste
Radiation Environment
Natural Ecology
Arable Land and Rural Environment
Climate and Natural Disasters
Environmental Management

General Situation

Overall urban air quality was improved to some extent compared with the previous year despite heavy pollution in some cities.Of the 559 cities under the monitoring program of 2006, 322 were at or above prefecture level (including the capital of prefecture, autonomous region, league, the same as below), and 237 were at the county level. 24 cities met Grade I national air quality standard (accounting for 4.3%), 325 met Grade II standard (accounting for 58.1%), 159 met Grade III standard (accounting for 28.5%), and 51 failed to meet Grade III standard (accounting for 9.1%). The major pollutant was inhalable particulates.

Compared with last year (referring to comparable cities), the proportion of cities with air quality at or better than Grade II increased by 4.7 percentage points, and thate with air quality worse than Grade III dropped by 2.1 percentage points. On the whole, the urban air quality attained some improvement.

Proportions of Cities with Varied Levels of Air Quality in 2006

Year-on-year Comparison of Ambient Air Quality among Comparable Cities

Major Pollutants in the Air Particulates were still the major pollutant that affected the air quality. The annual concentration of particulates of 66.5% of the cities nationwide met or exceeded Grade II standard, while 7.0% were inferior to Grade III standard.

Compared with previous year (referring to comparable cities), the concentration of particulates of 62.8% of the cities had met or exceeded Grade II standard, up by 3.3 percentage points; while 5.3% of the cities surpassed Grade III standard, down by 0.2% percentage point. Compared with that of 2005, the overall pollution of particulate alleviated to some extent.

Cities with heavy particulate pollution were mainly distributed in provinces (autonomous regions or municipalities) of Shanxi, Xinjiang, Gansu, Beijing, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Sichuan, Inner Mongolia, Hebei, Hunan, Liaoning, Henan, Chongqing, Tianjin and Jiangsu.

Proportions of Cities with Different Levels of Particulates in 2006

Year-on-year Comparison of Particulate Grade in Comparable Cities

In 2006, 86.8% of the cities nationwide met or exceeded the Grade II standard for annual SO2 level and 3.6% surpassed Grade III standard. Compared with 2005 (referring to comparable cities), the ratio of cities with the annual concentration of SO2 of or superior to national Grade II standard grew by 4.3% percentage points, and the ratio of cities superior to national Grade III standard was down by 2.1 percentage points. The situation of SO2 pollution was reduced to a certain level.

Cities suffering from relatively heavy SO2 pollution were mainly distributed in provinces (autonomous regions or municipalities) of Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Yunnan, Xinjiang, Guizhou, Gansu, Hebei, Hubei, Guangxi, Hunan, Sichuan, Liaoning, Henan, Chongqing and Tianjin.

Comparison of SO2 Grade in Comparable Cities

NO2 levels of all cities in the statistics met Grade II national standard (among which 87.4% were up to Grade I national standard). However, major cities like Guangzhou, Beijing, Urumchi, Shenzhen and Lanzhou observed relatively higher NO2 levels. The grade distribution of NO2 displayed insignificant change compared with that of 2005.

Air Quality of Major Cities Of the 113 major cities for air pollution prevention and control, 50 cities experienced Grade II standard air quality (accounting for 44.2%); 55 ones met Grade III standard (taking up 48.7%); and 8 ones failed to meet Grade III standard (accounting for 7.1%). Compared with previous year, the proportion of cities up to national standard increased by 1.7 percentage points, while the ratio of cities with the air quality inferior to Grade III also grew by 0.9 percentage point. The average SO2 level of major cities saw slight reduction than that of 2005, NO2 and inhalable particulate level remained at the same level, and the air quality of major cities were stable.

Average Annual Concentration of Major Pollutants in Key Cities

Acid Rain Out of 524 cities (or counties) under national acid rain monitoring program, 283 experienced acid rain at least once in 2006 (taking up 54.0%). The number of cities with the incidence of acid rain over 25% stood at 198 (taking up 37.8%), while the number of those over 75% were 87 (accounting for 16.6%). Among them, the incidence of acid rain was 100% in Jiande City, Xiangshan County, Huzhou City, Anji County and Shengsi County of Zhejiang Province and Jiangjin City of Chongqing Municipality.

Compared with 2005, the ratio of cities subject to acid rain nationwide dropped by 3.1 percentage points, while the proportion of cities suffering from relatively heavy acid rain (pH value of precipitation<5.0) surged slightly, and the ratio of cities experiencing heavy acid rain (pH value of precipitation<4.5) somewhat plummeted.

Statistical Table of the Average Annual pH Value of Precipitation in 2006

Stepped Statistical Table of Acid Rain Incidence in 2006

Proportions of Cities with Different Acid Rain Occurrence

Proportions of Cities with Different Precipitation Acidity

In the year of 2006, the areas with the acid rain incidence exceeding 5% took up 32.6% of the total national land territory, while the areas with 25% registered 15.4%.

Acid rain made a concentrated appearance mainly in areas of the south to the Yangtze River and Sichuan and east to Yunnan. Such areas include the majority parts of Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, Fujian, Guizhou and Chongqing as well as the Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta. Compared with that of 2005, the distribution of acid rain remained rather stable across the country.

Nationwide Distribution of Acid Rain Incidence in 2006

Nationwide Distribution of Acid Rain in 2006

Discharge Amount of Major Pollutants in Waste Gas

In 2006, the SO2 emissions amounted to 25.888 million tons, the emission of soot were 10.784 million tons, and the emission of industrial dust amounted to 8.075 million tons.

Nationwide Discharges of Major Pollutants in Waste Gas in Recent Years

                                                                                                                              Unit: 10,000 tons

Measures and Actions

¡¾Prevention and Control of Pollution by Vehicle Emissions¡¿In 2006, the amount of in-service vehicles nationwide increased at a high speed. 7.28 million vehicles were produced this year, marking an annual growth of 27.6%, among which 3.84 million were saloon cars, up by 39.7% than the previous year, and 7.22 million cars were sold, up by 25.1%. By the end of 2006, the number of in-service cars (including 13.99 million tricars and low speed vehicles) for civilian use hit 49.85 million, up by 15.2% than the figure by the end of 2005. Among them, 29.25 million were private cars, registering an increase of 23.7%. The number of in-service vehicles for civilian use reached 15.45 million, up by 27.2%, of which 11.49 million were private cars, up by 33.5%. As a result, the pollution caused by vehicle emissions became increasingly prominent.

In 2006, SEPA further enhanced the supervision and regulation of new vehicles, in-service vehicles and vehicle-use fuels, and released 12 groups of announcements on vehicle types that are up to national environmental standards. By the end of 2006, altogether 47,966 new vehicle (engine) types had been certified of meeting National Phase II Motor Vehicle Emission Standard after examination, and 4,953 had been certified of meeting National Phase III Motor Vehicle Emission Standard, among which 854 new types were equipped with On-board Diagnostics (OBD) system. National Phase II Motor Vehicle Emission Standards was put into effect compulsorily from July 1, 2006 in China in full scale, and the production and sale of various vehicles and engines only meeting National Phase I Motor Vehicle Emission Standard was then prohibited. Meanwhile, efforts had been augmented on the supervision and management of the consistency between environmental protection and production of automobile manufacturing enterprises. In specific, an annual supervision and checkup was launched to 23 automobile (engine) manufacturing enterprises and 10 motorcycle manufacturing enterprises, and the results of the checkup were disclosed to the public for requesting rectification and improvement for those enterprises failing to meet related standards.

On September 1 of 2006 after getting the approval of the State Council, Guangzhou City began to implement the National Phase III Motor Vehicle Emission Standard ahead of schedule, becoming the second city enforcing the next phase of national motor vehicle emission standard in advance following Beijing.

¡¾Plan on the Emission Control of ODS¡¿By the end of 2006, the Multilateral Fund (MLF)'s Executive Committee of Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer had already approved 15 industrial control plans of China, among which 4 had been completed while the rest 11 were underway. The ODS (Ozone Depleting Substances) Reduction Industrial Plan had been advanced steadily. In 2006, the MLF's Executive Committee approved 47.5 million US$ of fund for the industrial plan of China followed by the signing of 169 new contracts, making fund payment totaling 53,64 million US$ and reducing the production and consumption of ODS equaling to around 25 thousand tons of ODP (Ozone Depleting Potential). The General Administration of Customs and SEPA jointly unfolded the "Sky Hole Patching" Special Action to crackdown illegal trade of ODS. As a result, 6 cases of illegal import and export of ODS had been found out and dealt with. The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine found and handled three batches of illegal import of industrial and commercial cooling equipment containing CFCs, while SEPA and related local governments found out and dealt with 5 cases of illegal production and use of ODS. In addition, the development policy over the CMS production industry was issued, and the examination and approval of new construction project were carried out in a more stringent manner. The transfer technology of CCl4 had been greatly promoted, and the related principle for capital compensation was laid down. Consequently, all the CCl4 production enterprises across China had all started the construction of the transfer facilities of CCl4, and the risk arising from non-implementation of the convention of CCl4 was remarkably lowered.

¡¾Air Pollution Prevention and Control in Beijing¡¿Beijing continued to promote the improvement of energy mix to control the pollution caused by coal combustion. In 2006, the use volume of natural gas was increased to 3.8 billion m3, the city completed the transformation of 1,479 coal-burning boilers (with the capacity less than 20 tons) to the use of clean energy and carried out the "coal to electricity" transformation of heating boilers in residential areas covering 2,500 single-story household. The city also stepped up the control of vehicle exhaust emission, upgraded or phased out 15 thousand old taxies and 2,335 old buses. It also put 4,000 new buses powered by natural gas into use, and initiated the oil and gas recovery and treatment demonstrational project of oil depot, oil station and tank trunk. Some of the coke furnaces of the Shougang Group stopped production, and Beijing Coking and Chemical Works fully stopped production in a bid to cut emissions of pollutants. What's more, the in-depth treatment project on desulphurization, denitrogenation and dust removal of the five major coal-fired power plants of the city had been quickened, and more measures were taken to control the flying dust of construction sites. The SO2 emissions reduction work had been materialized with its emissions being reduced than that of 2005. The city was also actively engaged in the environmental protection preparation work for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games by launching the activity of "drive one day less a month" and attained air quality betterment for 8 consecutive years.