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Beijing 2008: Annual Pollutant Concentration

The annual SO2, PM10 and NO2 data is sourced from the Environmental Statistical yearbook. The data is charted against the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (Standard II- Annual Mean) for commercial, transportation, residential, cultural and general industrial areas (GB 3095-1996) and the annual mean standards from the WHO "Air Quality Guidelines: Global Update 2005".

The data is available for all of the Cities except for Qingdao and Qinhuangdao since they are not capital cities. Although the data for Hong Kong is available, it should be noted that Hong Kong uses a different monitoring and assessment system as compared with the other cities.

General Trends

In the assessment of the concentration levels of the three pollutants, it is found out that significant SO2 reductions were achieved in the Chinese Cities from 1992 to 2006. However, the levels of NO2 (2000-2006) and PM10 (2003-2006) have remained flat and there were no significant movements in the concentration levels of these two pollutants.

Aggregate Pollutant Concentration DatasetAggregate Pollutant Concentration Dataset
[.xls, 96.7Kb]

Particulate Matter (PM10)

The PM10 concentration levels in the Chinese Olympic Cities have been stable since 2003, when the data became available. From 2003 to 2006, all five cities exceeded the WHO PM10 annual mean standard by a significant margin and only Shanghai and Hong Kong were within the National PM10 annual mean standard.

Note: * The "average" trend line consists of figures from 32 Provincial Capital Cities plus Hong Kong

Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)

As of 2006, only Tianjin exceeds the national standard for annual mean for SO2 concentration. The cumulative SO2 concentrations in the four cities, namely: Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang and Tianjin, during the period of 1992- 2006 are significantly reduced from approximately 0.15 mg/cu.m. to about 0.05 mg/cu.m, which is quite close to the national average in 2006. A closer look at the figures reveals that the SO2 reduction in Tianjin, Shenyang and Beijing are larger than the national average reduction level (~50% from 1992 to 2006). This may be due to the concentrated desulphurization activities in these cities in the past ten years. In contrast, the SO2 concentration in Tianjin is higher than those of other cities and has moved upward since 2000.

Hong Kong uses a different monitoring system than the rest of the Cities and perhaps this is the reason why the figures for Hong Kong are way below the average.

Note: * The "average" trend line consists of figures from 32 Provincial Capital Cities plus Hong Kong

Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)

Note: * The "average" trend line consists of figures from 32 Provincial Capital Cities plus Hong Kong

In 2006, the NO2 levels in the five Olympic Cities are above the Chinese Cities’ average and the WHO NO2 Annual Mean, but are below the National Standard (II). All the curves seem to have only small fluctuations and remain flat, in general.


The table above compares the different AQ standards and guidelines in China, Europe, USA and the ones developed by WHO during the time when China’s Olympic bid was approved (2001) and as of today.

Beijing 2008


AQ Actions by Olympic Cities
- Overview of Actions
- Beijing
- Hong Kong
- Qinhuangdao
- Qingdao
- Shanghai
- Shenyang
- Tianjin
Air Quality in Olympic Cities
- Annual Pollutant Concentration
- Air Pollution Index (API)
- Calculated PM10 Analysis
- Olympic AQ Charts and Datasets
Other links
Key Reports
Key Resources

Air Quality in Chinese Cities
Courtesy of VECC-SEPA

API to Concentration ConverterAPI to Concentration Converter
[.xls, 27.6Kb]

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