Vice Minister of Environmental Protection Wu Xiaoqing speaks at a news conference held by the first session of the 12th National People's Congress in Beijing, capital of China, March 15, 2013. [By Dong De/China.org.cn]
Several big cities located in China's three main economic zones have more than 200 hazy days per year, which primarily results from the rapid industrialization and urbanization, according to a senior environmental official.
The three regions, including the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area, the Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta, show the severest air pollution in China, not only in winter, but also in summer, said Wu Xiaoqing, vice minister of environmental protection, at a press conference on the sidelines of the ongoing parliamentary session, March 15.
"The unfavorable weather conditions partly contributed to forming the smoggy days, but fundamentally, the phenomenon is mainly due to the pollution caused by China's rapid industrialization and urbanization," Wu said.
Though only taking up 8% of China's total land areas, the three zones consume 42% of coal, 52% of gasoline and diesel, and produce 55% of steel and 40% of cement for this country every year, Wu said.
The industrial productions have caused the issues like high energy consumption, toxic emissions and pollution, "the area has provided 30% of the overall sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and dust emissions in China." Wu said.
In addition, the major pollutants discharged by those areas are five times those in other regions, and their volume is much larger than the environmental capacity of local regions, increasing the appearance of haze, smoke and PM 2.5, which is a fine particulate matter measuring 2.5 microns or less in diameter, and he said.
"A blue sky is the main index testing our treatment to air pollution," said the vice minister. "In order to treat the issue, the government has taken certain measures to fix this problem."
China will not only formulate regulations, standards and policies to reduce air pollutants and control coal burning, but also build a national air quality monitoring network across 190 Chinese cities by the end of the year, he said.
"The network will publicize real-time air-quality monitoring data, which will offer a scientific basis for us to control air pollution and increase the determination of local governments to push forward the treatment measures." He said.
The network will include nearly 950 monitoring stations nation-wide and is expected to be established by the end of this year.