China's ecological environment improves steadily in 2023: minister

(Xinhua) 13:47, March 09, 2024

BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) -- China saw general and steady improvement of ecological environment in 2023, thanks to accelerated measures to reduce air and water pollutants, Minister of Ecology and Environment Huang Runqiu said Friday.

The PM2.5 density, a key indicator of air pollution, in 339 cities at the prefecture level and above averaged 30 micrograms per cubic meter, 3 micrograms per cubic meter lower than the annual target, Huang told journalists on the sidelines of the ongoing "two sessions."

Compared with that in 2019, the figure in 2023 was down by 6 micrograms per cubic meter, marking a 16.7 percent decrease, he added.

Intensive measures were taken last year to mitigate adverse effects such as dust storms and other extreme weather events on the eco-environment. These measures included implementing ultra-low emission transformations in the steel industry and promoting clean heating in rural areas to reduce coal usage, the minister said.

Regarding the water quality, 89.4 percent of the country's monitored sections had fairly good surface water quality, 4.4 percentage points higher than the target set by the 14th Five-Year Plan, Huang noted.

He said China will support high-quality development with high-level eco-environmental protection measures in 2024, such as improving air and water quality, restoring water ecology, protecting the rural environment, and managing hazardous waste risks.

Other measures, such as the construction of pilot zones for building a Beautiful China and the establishment of national carbon emission markets, especially the ones for voluntary greenhouse gas emissions reduction, will also be utilized, said the minister.

(Web editor: Cai Hairuo, Liang Jun)


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