BEIJING, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Only 8 of 74 Chinese cities met the threshold for clean air in 2014 -- an improvement over the year before, government figures released Monday indicated.
Beijing is notorious for its poor air quality, and it and Tianjin are regarded as the most seriously polluted, statistics from the Ministry of Environmental Protection said. Only Haikou, Zhoushan, Shenzhen, Huizhou and Fuzhou, each a city in China's east, met the national standard, as well as Lhasa and Kunming. Only three cities, of the 74, met the threshold in 2013. The ministry reported that the average number of days featuring heavy smog in the 74 cities decreased by 11 days, from 32 days in 2013. It added there were "471 environmental emergencies in total in 2014, down 241 from a year earlier."
The PM2.5 particles in the air, regarded as injurious to human health, decreased to 93 micrograms per cubic meter from 106 in the most severely affected cities, but still three times the approved limit of 35 micrograms.
Baoding, a city of 11 million near Beijing, was declared the city with the worst air pollution.