April 3, 2013
Translated by Zhu Na
In the first three months of this year, levels of nitrogen dioxide and PM10 in Beijing's air increased by almost 30 percent compared to the same period last year, according to comments made by the head of the city's environmental protection bureau yesterday.
The levels of sulfur dioxide, the other major air pollutant monitored by the city's government, decreased slightly over the same period.
Levels of nitrogen dioxide and PM10, which measures particular matter like smoke, dirt and dust that are between 2.5 and 10 micrometers in diameter, were also up 47 percent year-on-year in January, according to Chen Tian (陈添), head of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau (BMEPB).
The Beijing government set a target for 2013 of reducing the level of major air pollutants by 2 percent from the levels recorded last year.
BMEPB said the increases in the level of pollutants was to some extend caused by external causes such as topography and meteorological conditions.
For example, Beijing registered its highest levels of relative humidity in a decade and surface wind speeds were at there lowest level in ten years, resulting in a lower temperature inversion layer, which can easily lead to an increase in the level of ground pollutants.
But Chen said the main reasons for the jump in pollution levels were the internal cause such as the high level of emissions. Chen said that the emissions created by those living and producing in the city far exceed what the environment can take.
In terms of what caused heightened levels of PM2.5, smaller particles that can have a more severe impact on people's health, Chen said that 60 percent was related to burning including the burning of coal and fuel consumption.
The city has made dealing with the burning of coal one of the focuses of this year's attempts to limit and control the amount of PM2.5 in the air.
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