The sulphur dioxide emission in Beijing dropped 12 percent in the first quarter over the same period last year, with the total amount decreased by about 8,000 tons, according to the city's environmental regulator.
The reduction was attributed to the city's intensified efforts in recent years to cut sulphur dioxide emission in major industrial projects and restructure big power plants, said Zheng Zaihong, an official with Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau.
The city used techniques to remove sulphur dioxide in major power plants which were mostly fueled by coal and replaced the fuel of small boilers with clean energies, he said, adding that the city also installed an electricity system for urbanities living in old towns, who were in the past used coal-fuelled stoves.
Several major power plants were also moved out of downtown areas or underwent technical upgrading to reduce emissions, he said.
Statistics show the city's total emission in 2006 was 175,500 tons, a 7.9 percent decrease over 2005, which stood at 190,600 tons.
Beijing last year fulfilled its target to cut the sulphur dioxide discharge by 10 percent, according to a primary calculation made by the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
The Beijing Municipal government has set this year's target at 10 percent.
Sulphur dioxide is one of the major air pollutants. Power plants and industrial boilers are the major sources, accounting for 70 percent of the total.