SHANGHAI (REUTERS) - Average air quality in 338 Chinese cities worsened in October, the environment ministry said on Friday (Nov 17), despite the launch of a six-month winter campaign to cut emissions in northern regions.
Concentrations of hazardous breathable particles known as PM2.5 rose 5.6 per cent on the year to an average of 38 micrograms per cubic metre, and stood at 41 micrograms over the first 10 months, unchanged from a year earlier, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) said.
From January to October, the data showed, China's five smoggiest cities were all located in the province of Hebei, which is the biggest steel producing region and a major consumer of coal.
The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region saw PM2.5 emissions fall 10.3 per cent to 61 micrograms in October, but the average over the first 10 months remains 8.5 per cent higher than last year, largely as a result of near record smog in January and February.
China's official air quality standard is 35 micrograms, compared to levels of no more than 10 micrograms recommended by the World Health Organisation.
In October, the first month of the campaign kicked off by 28 cities in and around the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region to cut PM2.5 concentrations by at least 15 per cent, 24 cities fell short of the target, the environment ministry said. Eleven even saw emissions rise.