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The air quality measures that Beijing has implemented in preparation for the Olympic Games paid off. Beijing was able to fulfill its commitment of maintaining its air pollution index under 100 during the Games.
The average daily August API in Beijing was at its lowest in 2008 from 2000. There is also a general downward trend in the average daily API in August from 2000- 2008 as seen below.
An analysis of the number of days under the different levels of API during August from the year 2000 to 2008 shows a general improvement in the air quality status in Beijing. The occurrence of days above AQ Level II or > 100 (see Air Pollution Index and Air Quality Grading) has significantly gone down as seen below. More importantly, there were no days in August 2008 (first 26 days) that are above AQ Level II.
The improvement in Beijing’s air quality can also be seen from the chart below which plots the daily API during the month of August from 2000 to 2008.
The chart below shows the concentration levels of PM10 as derived from the API figures above. It shows that a significant improvement was achieved in August 2008 since all of the first 26 days in August have fallen within the National PM10 standard of China (150 micrograms/m3). More days are now within the WHO and EU 24-hour PM10 guidelines (50 micrograms/m3) than in previous years, however, half of the days are still above the said guidelines.