Timeline of pollution in Beijing

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This is a timeline of pollution in Beijing, attempting to describe progression in coping with all kinds of pollution in the city.

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Time period Development summary
1970s Environmental protection starts in the late decade in China and Beijing.[1]
1980s Beijing starts to build its air quality monitoring system.[1] Air pollution starts becoming a major problem in northern China. The city already experiences photochemical smog.
1990s Air pollution in Beijing becomes very severe.[2] By the late decade, the ambient concentrations of pollutants including sulfur dioxide and total suspended particles in Beijing seriously exceed Chinese national air quality standards.[1] The first local government air pollution control program in China is introduced in the city. Multiple emission standards start being introduced.
2000s Air pollution remains a serious problem in Beijing during the decade, marked by very frequent pollution episodes, especially during the winter.[3] Air quality in Beijing improves significantly during and after the Summer Olympic Games, but most of the effect fades away by the end of October 2009.[4]
2010s Air quality monitoring stations aire introduced. Beijing issues red alerts for severe pollution in 2015, the first since the emergency alert system was established. Toward the second half of the decade, emissions of PM2.5, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide are found to be reduced by 97%, 98% and 86% respectively compared with 20 years earlier, resulting in significant environmental and health benefits.[1]

Full timeline

Year Month and date Category Event type Details
1980 Background Statistics The population in Beijing is reported to be 8.8 million.[5]
1980s Air pollution Infrastructure Beijing starts to build its air quality monitoring system.[1]
1986 Air pollution Crisis Beijing experiences photochemical smog in the summer.[6]
1988 General Policy Beijing’s municipal government maintains a preventative policy of eradicating the rodents, which would dramatically reduce rat numbers.[7]
1997 General Program Beijing’s environmental program begins. It would become the centerpiece of the city’s Olympic environmental commitments.[8]
1998 Air pollution Program Beijing begins an intensified air pollution control program, and begins to publish weekly air quality reports.[9][2]
1998 Air pollution Policy Beijing launches the first local government air pollution control program in China. Hundreds of concrete measures are implemented targeting at key pollution sources of particulate matter and soot, namely coal consumption, industrial emissions, motor vehicle emissions, and dust.[1]
1998 Air pollution Statistics Beijing records only 100 Blue Sky days.[8]
1999 January 1 Air pollution Policy Beijing introduces emission standard for exhaust pollutants from light-duty vehicles.[2]
1999 April 1 Air pollution Policy Beijing introduces emission standard for pollutants at double idle speed from vehicle with petrol engine, and for smoke at free acceleration from farm vehicles.[2]
2000 Air pollution Infrastructure Beijing starts publishing daily reports on its air quality.[10]
2001 January 1 Air pollution Policy Beijing introduces emission standard for exhaust emissions from motorcycles and mopeds.[2]
2002 March 1 Air pollution Policy Beijing introduces integrated emission standard of boilers pollutants.[2] Subsidies for urban coalfired boiler renovation are introduced.[1]
2003 Air pollution Policy Euro-II emission standard are implemented for new vehicles in Beijing.[2]
2003 Air pollution Policy Beijing adopts limits and measurement methods for exhaust smoke under lugdown test from agricultural vehicles, motorcycles and mopeds under steady-state loaded mode, exhaust pollutants from gasoline vehicles under steady-state loaded mode, and exhaust smoke standard for diesel vehicle under lug-down test.[2]
2003 April 1 Air pollution Policy Beijing adopts limits and measurement methods for exhaust pollutants from nonroad diesel engines.[2]
2003 October 1 Air pollution Policy Beijing adopts emission controls and limits for oil-gas from gas stations, emission controls and measurement standard for oil-gas from fuel depots, and emission controls and measurement standard for oil-gas from tank trucks.[2]
2004 Air pollution Research According to the United States Embassy in Beijing, the concentration of airborne particulates in the city equals that of New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Atlanta combined.[8]
2005 Air pollution Policy Beijing introduces subsidies for phasing out old and used buses and taxies. Low electricity tariffs and subsidies for demonstration areas of coal-to-electricity transformation are introduced, as well as extension of the subsidies to city-wide boiler renovation.[1]
2008 January Air pollution Policy Beijing becomes the first city in China to require the Chinese equivalent to the Euro 4 emission standard.[11]
2008 General Program A number of subsidies up to a maximum of 3 million Yuan are granted for the closing of high-polluting, energy-intensive and water-intensive enterprises and the upgrading of production processes and equipment.[1]
2008 June Air pollution The United States Embassy in Beijing begins tweeting air quality index levels at the handle @BeijingAir.[12]
2008 July General Program Beijing holds the Summer Olympic Games, and starts policy to eradicate cockroaches, flies, and mosquitoes in a bid to make the city cleaner and more “civilized.” [7] Just a week before the Summer Olympic Games, despite months of drastic attempts to shut down factories and curb other sources of pollution, Beijing's pollution persists at embarrassing levels.[12]
2008–2014 Air pollution Statistics According to study, Beijing had 1,812 "unhealthy" level air days in this period, with only two days reaching acceptably low levels of pollution.[12]
2009 Air pollution Policy Beijing introduces subsidies for early retirement or transfer of vehicles and for resident purchase of electric heating equipment.[1]
2010 Air pollution Policy Beijing introduces solar collector subsidies and expansion of subsidies to coal-fired boilers over 14MV.[1]
2011 Air pollution Policy Beijing introduces subsidies for purchase of electric vehicles for taxi or postal services; battery leasing and charging subsidies for electric buses and sanitation vehicles. Authorities also introduce subsidy for loan interest for buying new clean trucks.[1]
2011 Background Statistics The population in Beijing reaches 20.2 million.[5]
2012 Air pollution Policy Beijing increases subsidies for early retirement of vehicles.[1]
2012 Air pollution Policy Beijing cumulates 18 implemented phases of the air pollution control programs based on the requirements of the five-year plan for environmental protection, including two phases for some years (heating season and non-heating season) during 1998-2010 and one phase per year during 2011-2012.[1]
2012–2013 Air pollution Statistics Regional transport emissions account for 28 to 36 percent of PM pollution in Beijing during this period.[3]
2013 Air pollution Policy Beijing introduces subsidies for electric passenger vehicles, industry-purpose vehicles and fuel-cell vehicles. Authorities also introduce heat pump construction subsidies.[1]
2013 Air pollution Policy As part of a campaign, Beijing starts phasing out coal-fired stoves in the city. Natural gas and other forms of clean energy are used to replace coal.[13]
2013 January Air pollution Crisis Beijing experiences a prolonged bout of smog so severe that citizens dub it an “airpocalypse”; the concentration of hazardous particles reaches forty times the level deemed safe by the World Health Organization.[14][15]
2013 Air pollution Infrastructure A total of 35 ambient air quality monitoring stations which can monitor 6 major pollutants such as PM2.5 and O3, are installed across Beijing.[1]
2013 June Air pollution Policy The Action Plan for Clean Air in Beijing is introduced, setting targets for the 2013–2017 period, requiring the city's PM10 and PM2.5 concentration to be reduced by 10 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively, and the annual concentration of PM2.5 to not exceed the threshhold of 60 µg/m3.[3]
2013 July 12 Air pollution Study Research finds that life expectancy is 5.5 years shorter in northern China than in the southern counterpart. Profuse coal burning is listed as the primary culprit behind shortened life expectancy. The Ministry of Environmental Protection dismisses the findings as “unconvincing."[12]
2013 December Air pollution Program Beijing is asked to lead the establishment of the Mechanism for Coordinated Prevention and Control of Air Pollution in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei and Surrounding Areas with the support of China’s State Council.[1][16][17]
2014 Air pollution Policy Beijing introduces subsidies for environmental-friendly technological transformation, for the closing of polluting enterprises, and for individual purchase of electric passenger vehicles and fuel-cell vehicles. Construction waste transportation vehicle reconstruction assistance is introduced. Authorities also increase subsidies for suburban coal-fired boiler renovation.[1]
2015 January 28 General Mayor of Beijing Wang Anshun declares: “At the present time ... Beijing is not a livable city." The declaration is thought to be prompted by a recen reported decrease in tourism of 10 percent because of pollution levels and economic decline.[12]
2015 September Air pollution Crisis Six runners and a race official suffer heart attacks during a marathon in Beijing due to heavy smog. The AQI reaches a level of 175 and several runners wear masks during their efforts to cross the finish line.[12]
2015 December Air pollution Policy Beijing issues red alerts for severe pollution, the first since the emergency alert system was established. The municipal government closes schools, limits road traffic, halts outdoor construction, and pauses factory manufacturing. [14][18][19][20]
2015 December Air pollution Funding The Asian Development Bank approves a US$300 million loan to help China combat pollution in the capital region.[21][14]
2015 Air pollution Policy Beijing authorities start implementing a “coal-to-gas” policy.[1]
2015 Water pollution Statistics A reported 1.96 million cubic meters of untreated wastewater was discharged in Beijing in the year. This water has been ruled unusable for agricultural, industrial and even decorative purposes dumped into rivers and lakes.[22][23]
2016 Air pollution Infrastructure A new generation of integrated air quality monitoring network is established in Beijing, combining advanced technologies like high resolution satellite remote sensing and laser radar.[1]
2017 January Water pollution Study According to study, 39.9% of water in Beijing is so polluted that it is essentially functionless.[22][24]
2017 Air pollution Study Average PM2.5 pollution level in Beijing remains 65% above the national standard, and six times above the World Health Organization guidelines.[7]
2017 October Air pollution Policy Beijing starts the biggest shutdown of steel factories in history. The measures are a part of an aggressive nationwide action plan that aims to cut wintertime particulate pollution by 15% year-on-year over the next five months.[25][26][27][28]
2017 Air pollution Study Emissions of PM2.5, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide in Beijing are found to be reduced by 97%, 98% and 86% respectively compared with 20 years earlier, resulting in significant environmental and health benefits.[1]
2018 Air pollution Study The State Council releases new blue sky action plan for 2018-2020, which requires Beijing lower PM2.5 concentrations and reduce the frequency of heavy pollution days, to improve air quality substantially.[1]
2019 March General Research Greenpeace releases report ranking Beijing 122nd in the list of the world's most polluted cities.[29]
2019 May General Research A survey by Deutsche Bank Research ranks Beijing in 55th place in terms of quality of life on a list of 56 cities from around the world. The only city deemed worse than Beijing in terms of living standards is Lagos, Nigeria.[30]

Meta information on the timeline

How the timeline was built

The initial version of the timeline was written by User:Sebastian.

Funding information for this timeline is available.

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What the timeline is still missing

Timeline update strategy

See also

External links


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 "Air pollution control in Beijing" (PDF). wedocs.unep.org. Retrieved 13 June 2019. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 "Improving Urban Air Quality in China: Beijing Case Study". tandfonline.com. Retrieved 13 May 2019. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 In Search of Good Energy Policy (Jonathan Chaplin, Marc Ozawa, Michael Pollitt, Paul Warde ed.). 
  4. Jin, Yana; Andersson, Henrik; Zhang, Shiqiu. "Air Pollution Control Policies in China: A Retrospective and Prospects". PMC 5201360Freely accessible. PMID 27941665. doi:10.3390/ijerph13121219. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Tanga, Guiqian; Zhaob, Pusheng; Wanga, Yinghong; Gaoa, Wenkang; Chenga, Mengtian; Xina, Jinyuan; Lic, Xin; Wang, Yuesi. "Mortality and air pollution in Beijing: The long-term relationship". 
  6. Energy Futures and Urban Air Pollution: Challenges for China and the United States. Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Engineering, National Research Council, National Academy of Engineering, Policy and Global Affairs, Development, Security, and Cooperation, Committee on Energy Futures and Air Pollution in Urban China and the United States. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "Beijing Urbanizes, and a Much-Loved Bird Vanishes From the City". sixthtone.com. Retrieved 12 May 2019. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "Beijing's Olympic Quest: Turn Smoggy Sky Blue". nytimes.com. Retrieved 25 June 2019. 
  9. "A review of 20 Years' Air Pollution Control in Beijing". unenvironment.org. Retrieved 13 June 2019. 
  10. Chen, Wei; Wang, Fusheng; Xiao, Guofeng; Wu, Kai; Zhang, Shixuan. "Air Quality of Beijing and Impacts of the New Ambient Air Quality Standard". doi:10.3390/atmos6081243. 
  11. "China: Beijing launches Euro 4 standards". Automotiveworld.com. 4 January 2008. Archived from the original on 27 April 2010. Retrieved 1 June 2010. 
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 "Years of Breathing Dangerously: A Beijing Air Pollution Timeline". thebeijinger.com. Retrieved 22 June 2019. 
  13. "Beijing, northern China hit by worst pollution this year". economictimes.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 12 May 2019. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 "China's Environmental Crisis". cfr.org. Retrieved 13 May 2019. 
  15. "China's Environmental Crisis". cfr.org. Retrieved 22 June 2019. 
  16. Wang, Li; Zhang, Fengying; Pilot, Eva; Yu, Jie; Nie, Chengjing; Holdaway, Jennifer; Yang, Linsheng; Li, Yonghua; Wang, Wuyi; Vardoulakis, Sotiris; Krafft, Thomas. "Taking Action on Air Pollution Control in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) Region: Progress, Challenges and Opportunities". PMID 29425189. doi:10.3390/ijerph15020306. 
  17. "Co-ordinate air pollution control measures". ebeijing.gov.cn. Retrieved 22 June 2019. 
  18. "Beijing Issues Red Alert Over Air Pollution for the First Time". nytimes.com. Retrieved 25 June 2019. 
  19. "Beijing issues second red alert for smog". france24.com. Retrieved 25 June 2019. 
  20. "Beijing issues first-ever 'red alert' due to severe air pollution". france24.com. Retrieved 25 June 2019. 
  21. "China to receive $300m loan to combat pollution levels". bbc.com. Retrieved 26 June 2019. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 "In China, the water you drink is as dangerous as the air you breathe". theguardian.com. Retrieved 19 May 2019. 
  23. "Water-Stressed Beijing Exhausts Its Options". circleofblue.org. Retrieved 22 June 2019. 
  24. du Plessis, Anja. Water as an Inescapable Risk: Current Global Water Availability, Quality and Risks with a Specific Focus on South Africa. 
  25. "'Beautiful China': Beijing starts the biggest shutdown of steel factories in history". unearthed.greenpeace.org. Retrieved 14 May 2019. 
  26. Ker, Peter. "Blue skies ahead as China embarks on an epic shutdown of heavy industries". afr.com. Retrieved 22 June 2019. 
  27. "Beijing begins biggest shutdown of steel factories in history". gbrionline.org. Retrieved 22 June 2019. 
  28. Nace, Trevor. "China Shuts Down Tens Of Thousands Of Factories In Widespread Pollution Crackdown". forbes.com. Retrieved 22 June 2019. 
  29. "Beijing Not Even in Top 100 Most Polluted Cities in the World". thebeijinger.com. Retrieved 25 June 2019. 
  30. "Beijing Places Second to Last in Quality of Life Index". thebeijinger.com. Retrieved 25 June 2019.