BEIJING, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Beijing witnessed a year-on-year increase in the density of hazardous fine particle matter PM2.5 in the first half of this year, local authorities said Wednesday.
According to Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, the city's average PM2.5 rose to 66 micrograms per cubic meter in the first half of the year, up 3.1 percent compared with the same period last year.
The increase was largely attributed to poor air quality in January and February, said a spokesperson with Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center.
Some 14 of the 16 seriously polluted days in the first half were during the first two months, which contributed to 30 percent of PM2.5 density, the spokesperson said.
However, the PM2.5 density in the six months was 35.9 percent less than the same period in 2013. Between March and June, the PM2.5 density saw an average 25 percent year-on-year drop, and the monthly figures were all the lowest historical levels respectively in the four months.
Meanwhile, the bureau reported that the average level of sulfur dioxide was down 15.4 percent, while nitrogen dioxide and PM10 went up 9.1 percent and 15.7 percent respectively year on year.
The spokesperson reported that dust and urban construction led to the rise in PM10 density.
Beijing has made increased efforts to deal with pollution in recent years. In 2017, it will decrease coal use by helping residents in 700 villages change to clean energy, remove 300,000 vehicles from the roads, and shut down 500 factories.