China is seeing signs of success in its fight against smog as pollution levels slump dramatically in the capital region Beijing.
Concentrations of PM2.5 — the tiny particles that pose the greatest health risks — plunged 33 percent from a year earlier in the fourth quarter across Beijing, Tianjin and 26 surrounding cities, Greenpeace East Asia said in a report Thursday. Levels in the capital alone tumbled 54 percent. The drops come after government policies last year forced millions of homes and businesses to switch from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas.
The bluer skies came at a price, as the widespread switching to natural gas contributed to shortages of the fuel, leaving homes frigid and factories shut. Still, improving air quality is a win for President Xi Jinping, who pledged to unleash an “iron hand” against pollution, and anti-coal measures will likely continue, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.
“The switch from …