(ECNS) -- The burning of coal across households continued to be a major cause of severe air pollution in the North China region of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province, theDepartment of Environmental Protection of Hebei said at a news conference on Sunday.
Hebei suffered three spells of severe air pollution in December, with the longest lasting seven days from Dec 16 to 22. Geography, weather conditions and the direction of wind were all disadvantages for the area.
With high concentrations of PM2.5, PM 10, carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide recorded during severe polluted days, experts are now suggesting controls on burning of residential coal.
Compared to big industrial enterprises, the incomplete burning of coal to heat residences in winter emits more carbon monoxide, the ministry said.
The province has responded with emergency measures on heavy polluted days. Industrial enterprises reduced emissions by 40 percent from Dec 16 to 22, while 10 cities implemented odd-even number plate restrictions to reduce auto emissions. The concentration of PM2.5 fell by 12 to 15 percent in many cities due to the emergency response.
The province is also trying to control air pollution by using clean energies such as electricity and gas to replace coal. Air quality has improved this year, with the concentration of major pollutants and PM 2.5 falling by 9 percent year-on-year, the local environmental protection ministry said. The number of superior air days increased to 204 this year, 17 more than last year and 77 days more than in the same period of 2013, it was added.