Most and least polluted cities of 2016

Source: Shanghaiist (1/23/17)
China’s environmental ministry announces the most and least polluted cities of 2016

No matter how bad the smog gets in Shanghai or Beijing. There’s at least one thing that residents can take solace in — the fact that they don’t live in Hebei.

China’s embattled Ministry of Environmental Protection recently released the country’s smog statistics for 2016, including the list of the top 10 most polluted cities in China. The first six cities on the list are all located in central, smoggy Hebei province.

1) Hengshui, Hebei
2) Shijiazhuang, Hebei
3) Baoding, Hebei
4) Xingtai, Hebei
5) Handan, Hebei
6) Tangshan, Hebei
7) Zhengzhou, Henan
8) Xi’an, Shaanxi
9) Jinan, Shandong
10) Taiyuan, Shanxi

But, if you are breathing a sigh of relief for not living in any of those cities, don’t start feeling so great about your lungs just yet. According to the ministry’s 2016 air quality report, of the 338 Chinese cities at prefecture level and above, only 84 of them had an average air quality at or below the national standard. While that’s 11 more than the previous year, it still means that over three-fourths of China’s major cities are more polluted than even the Chinese government thinks appropriate.

Still, there are some places where you can go to get away from the PM2.5. Here are the top 10 least polluted Chinese cities of 2016.

1) Haikou, Hainan
2) Zhoushan, Zhejiang
3) Huizhou, Guangdong
4) Xiamen, Fujian
5) Fuzhou, Fujian
6) Shenzhen, Guangdong
7) Lishui, Zhejiang
8) Zhuhai, Guangdong
9) Kunming, Yunnan
10) Taizhou, Zhejiang

In fact, while it may have been hard to notice through all that smog, China’s air quality improved a bit in 2016, dropping by 6% down to an average of only 47 micrograms per cubic meter. Still, that’s quite a ways away from the national standard of 35 micrograms per cubic meter. Not to mention, the World Health Organization standard of 25 micograms per cubic meter.

Maybe Beijing’s “smog squad” needs to go nationwide?

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