China’s industrial sector in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region has caused major smog that has rose more than a quarter in March.
The Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Li Ganjie said the smog has raised concerns that pollution is increasing with the end of winter output restrictions.
According to Reuters, concentrations of less than 2.5 microns, known as PM2.5 have climbed to 80 micrograms per cubic meter in the region last month, up by 27% from a year ago. The region includes China’s capital and Tangshan, known as the world’s largest steel producing city.
Approximately six months ago, there was an anti-pollution campaign that required 28 Chinese cities to reduce PM2.5 levels by as much as 25% by slashing industrial output, restricting traffic and cutting coal use.
Seven of China’s 10 most polluted cities in March came from the Hebei province, China’s biggest steel producing region. Tangshan and the city of Handan have already decided to extend the winter curbs until November.
During the first quarter, the levels of PM2.5 in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, which has been under heavy political pressure to tackle pollution, dropped 22.1% to 74 micrograms per cubic meter, down from near record highs in the same period of last year.
China is currently working on a new 2018-2020 action plan to tackle pollution, and experts have urged the government to introduce more targeted measures to tackle rising ground-level ozone, which has become a growing urban health threat.