GZ leads China's five central cities in air quality

BY :Lifeofguangzhou.com

UPDATED :January 24, 2017


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Guangzhou has won widespread applause for its improved air quality, especially for the "Canton blue" phenomenon, resulting from local government's unremitting efforts to deal with air pollution. With its great accomplishment of curbing air pollution and the constant improvement of various pollution metrics, Guangzhou trumps the other four national central cities in China including Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Tianjin.

What is "Canton blue"?

"Canton blue" literally means blue skies in Guangzhou, which turned up more often than those days with haze and smog in 2016. This positive phenomenon is one of the signs representing the obviously improved air quality in the city.

Guangzhou's air quality has improved for several straight years. A total of 310 days was recorded when the air quality met the national standard for clear air in 2016. That was two days fewer than in 2015, but 10 days more of premium air quality than in the previous year. The city recorded 312 days in 2015 with a ratio of qualified air of 71.2 percent, 282 days in 2014 with 77.5 percent and 260 days in 2013 with 71.2 percent, according to data released by the Guangzhou Environmental Protection Bureau.

Considering different districts in Guangzhou, Conghua tops in blue skies with a high ratio of 98.1 percent in qualified air days, 15 percent above the average for the city. On the whole, air quality in Conghua, Zengcheng, Huangpu and Nansha districts is better compared with that of Liwan, Yuexiu, Panyu and Baiyun districts.


A key metric of air pollution, the average PM2.5 in Guangzhou, has declined on the whole. PM2.5 particles are air pollutants with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less, small enough to invade even the smallest airways. "The average of PM2.5 has dropped 32 percent in the past three years," said Yang Liu, the director of the bureau. "Besides, the average concentration of SO₂(sulfur dioxide) in Guangzhou has also fallen 84.4 percent in the past 12 years."

The yearly improvement of Guangzhou's air quality can be attributed to comprehensive measures taken by the government --- reduction of coal, dust and fumes, and vehicle control, according to environmental protection authorities.


In terms of coal reduction, Guangzhou has built "no coal zones" in Yuexiu, Haizhu, Liwan and Tianhe districts and transformed 38 coal-fired generating units so that their emissions meet the national standard. During the 12th Five-year plan period, a total of 183,000 clunkers (aging high fuel consuming vehicles) and "yellow label" vehicles (those that don't meet exhaust emission standards) have been disposed, when it comes to vehicle control. For construction sites where dust pollution usually occurs, the construction department has implemented supervision of 2,053 sites and 195 among 223 companies which failed to meet emission standards have relocated or were shut down by last March. Among them were cement and chemical plants. Guangzhou also has developed pilot projects since 2011 for comprehensive improvement of cooking smoke pollution in 173 restaurants across four districts, including Yuexiu, Haizhu, Liwan and Tianhe.

(By Zoe Xu, Chris Wang, Louis Berney)