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China's ecological environment improves steadily in 2023


Air and water quality gradually improved in China last year as anti-pollution measures and investment in sustainable green development paid further dividends, according to data published by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment on Thursday.

In 2023, the average density of PM2.5 in 339 Chinese cities at and above prefecture-level stood at 30 micrograms per cubic meter, better than the annual target of 32.9 micrograms per cubic meter and down 16.7 percent from the 2019 level, according to the ministry.

The proportion of days with good air quality in these cities came in at 85.5 percent last year, the data revealed.

The data also showed that 89.4 percent of monitored water courses had fairly good surface water quality – at or above Grade III in the country's five-tier water quality system, up 1.5 percentage points year on year. The share of surface water below Grade V, the lowest level, remained unchanged at 0.7 percent.

The Yangtze River. /CFP
The Yangtze River. /CFP

The Yangtze River. /CFP

The Yangtze River and the Yellow River, two major rivers in China, had good water quality in 2023, with surface water quality at Grade II.

These improvements in environmental conditions in 2023 came despite multiple challenges, including unfavorable weather conditions, Minister of Ecology and Environment Huang Runqiu said at the national ecological protection work conference held earlier this week.

For 2024, Huang urged efforts to promote clean energy heating in northern China in accordance with local conditions, support low-carbon transition in the high-emission steel, cement and coal sectors, and reduce pollution caused by diesel-powered trucks.

(Cover image via CFP)

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