World News

Pollution in China's smog-prone Hebei falls by a quarter in April

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Air pollution fell by more than a quarter last month in China’s most smog-prone province of Hebei, the environment ministry said, aided by crackdowns on dust pollution and straw burning as well as tougher policies on use of diesel and fireworks.

Concentrations of hazardous floating particles known as PM2.5 fell 26.7% from the same month last year to an average of 33 micrograms per cubic metre, for the best April on record, the ministry added in a statement issued late on Tuesday.

The northern province also met China’s interim air quality standard of 35 micrograms per cubic metre.

Hebei, which turns out about a quarter of China’s total steel output, has benefited as well from an industrial slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

For the first four months, Hebei’s concentrations of PM2.5 fell 15.7% to 59 micrograms per cubic metre, although that still exceeds a World Health Organization recommendation of no more than 10 micrograms.

The province said its priority over the summer would be to control ground ozone pollution, primarily from vehicle exhaust fumes and sunlight.

Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Clarence Fernandez