The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region suffered the worst air quality in China in the first six months of the year with all cities in the region recording excessive PM2.5 pollution, according to a Ministry of Environmental Protection report.
Poor air quality was experienced for more than a fifth of the days in June in Beijing, as well as neighboring Tianjin and Hebei Province, according to ministry air quality readings.
Combined average air quality readings for 74 cities across China met standards for over half the days in June, the report said. The Pearl River Delta in south China had good air quality for nearly 90 percent of June.
However, the air in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei was heavily polluted for about a quarter of the first half of the year.
A ministry official said the major pollutant in Beijing was PM2.5.
The average reading for PM2.5, or dangerous airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter, in the 74 cities in the first half was 76 micrograms per cubic meter.
But in Beijing and its surrounding areas, the average reading was 115 micrograms per cubic meter.
A ministry official cited coal-burning, automobile emissions, construction projects and industry as the major causes of the heavy pollution.
Environment Minister Zhou Shengxian said last week that the government was making an action plan to improve air quality during the 2013-2017 period.
Environmental authorities are drafting a plan to reduce air pollution in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, according to China Central Television. The plan will cover Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi and Inner Mongolia, CCTV said.
It will require cities and provinces to sign contracts to reduce carbon consumption and eliminate industries that cause heavy pollution.