Xi’an fingered as among China’s worst-polluted

By Ren Yingying and Shan Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2017/4/12 22:08:39

Northwest China's Shaanxi Province has one of the most polluted provincial capitals in the country, China's environment watchdog says, as it singled out Xi'an for "severe" air quality issues.

The sixth inspection group of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) has sent feedback to the Shaanxi government, saying that conditions in central Shaanxi have become severe, and the ecosystem in the province's Qinling Mountains is "severely damaged," China Youth Daily reported Wednesday.

According to the inspection group, the heavy chemical industry has played a significant role in central Shaanxi for historical reasons, and in recent years the region has expanded its problem with huge amounts of highly contaminated projects.

The inspection group indicated that Xi'an has now become one of the most-polluted provincial capitals in China.

"The severe air pollution has affected our outdoor activities. We dare not do exercises. Once, a performance in our university was cancelled due to heavy smog," Du Jiao, a sophomore in Xi'an Peihua University, told the Global Times.

"In autumn and winter the pollution is so severe in Xi'an that we have to wear masks and use air cleaners all the time," a 31-year-old Xi'an resident told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"I feel Xi'an is more polluted than before, as we could [once] see blue sky and rainbows, but now there is only gray. In recent winters, sometimes I feel hard to breathe," Yao Jinxia, a retired employee in Xi'an, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"There were some factories in the rural areas that discharged waste into the water and earth directly. But in recent years the factories have been closed gradually, and I feel the environment has improved," Yao said, adding that, despite the smog, Xi'an's environment is not that bad when compared with that of other cities.

The inspection campaign from November 28 to December 28 in 2016 was focused on air and water pollution problems in central Shaanxi.

China has started to intensify the effort against air pollution, as cities suffer from more smoggy days in January, with northern areas the worst affected. The worsening trend in air quality has been checked since the MEP ordered a special air-quality inspection in the first quarter of this year, according to the ministry.

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