Beijing Air Pollution Improves After Cold Front, Xinhua Reports

The air quality in Beijing improved after a cold front from the north brought strong winds, dispersing heavy smog in the Chinese capital, the official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday.

The concentration of PM2.5 pollutants -- particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter that pose the biggest health risk - - was as low as 11 in the six districts covered by the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center as of 11:00 a.m. local time. The reading surged to 210 on Jan. 31, data released on the center’s Weibo feed show.

“Heavy air pollution” was recorded in 68 of the 161 cities monitored on the evening of Jan. 30 as China began celebrating the Lunar New Year holiday, the Ministry of Environment said in a statement on its website. Sixteen cities experienced “severe air pollution” as fireworks were set off across the country, according to the ministry.

Skies in Beijing began clearing yesterday after strong winds from the north, according to Xinhua. Temperatures in northern China and areas north of the Yangtze River will drop today and tomorrow, the Xinhua report said.

The air pollution index in Shanghai fell to 153 as of 11:21 a.m. local time from a reading as high as 232 yesterday, according to data on the website of the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center.