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China Air Pollution About Three Times Higher than Safe Particulate Level

Aug 01, 2013 09:21 AM EDT

Beijing registered air pollution levels that are at least three times higher than the "safe" level advised by the World Health Organization.

The latest figures on the particulate matter in air were released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP). The report included data from 74 cities.

The agency said that the concentration of PM2.5 particulates in 74 cities was about 76 micrograms per cubic meter for the first six months. According to the WHO this concentration should not be over 25 micrograms per cubic meter.

The worst-hit areas were Hebei Province, along with Beijing and Tianjin. These areas had poor air quality for over 21.2 days according to Xinhua.

A related study that was published in July had found that China's poor air quality- smoke along with particulate matter- is reducing lifespan of its citizens. Between 1981 and 2001, particulate matter in China hovered around 400 micrograms per cubic meter. According to this study, every 100 micrograms of pollutants lowers life-expectancy at birth by three years.

Even though Beijing had pitiable air quality levels, it wasn't among the first ten worst-polluted cities in China. This list included other cities such as Xi'an, Jinan, Zhengzhou, Tangshan and Shijiazhuang, reported Bloomberg.

Shanghai met government standard on air pollution level on about 80 percent of the days while Pearl River Delta that is near Hong Kong maintained good air quality for up to 80 percent of the surveyed days.

Recently, an environmental agency in China issued a strict plan to control pollution level in the country.

Particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter are dangerous if inhaled. These particles are very tiny so they can lodge in the human lung.

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