Launch of the report: A Review of 20 Years’ of Air Pollution Control in Beijing

UNON press room

In 1998 Beijing began an intensified air pollution control program, and over the last 20 years the city has implemented a series of measures including energy infrastructure optimization, coal-fired pollution control, and vehicle emission controls.

These efforts have produced impressive results. In the five years from 2013 to 2017, fine particulate pollution (PM2.5) in Beijing fell by 35% and by 25% in surrounding regions. Air quality in the city continues to improve. This didn’t happen by accident. It was the result of an enormous investment of time, resources and political will.

A new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the Beijing Municipal Ecology and Environment Bureau (BEE) tells the comprehensive story behind the figures and the important lessons learned along the way. There is still much work to do to solve Beijing’s air pollution issues and the report recommends further air quality actions that will benefit not just Beijing but the rest of China.

The lessons learned in the report could also help many cities suffering air pollution and Beijing hopes for wider cooperation among cities and regions towards the common global goal of a pollution-free planet.

The report outlines:

  • How Beijing’s air quality management programme has evolved over the past quarter century: the fits and starts, the trials and the triumphs, the evidence of what worked and what did not.
  • The challenges ahead and recommendations for near, medium and long-term steps that Beijing can take to maintain its momentum toward clean air.

Journalists are invited to attend the report launch and ask questions to the panel. The report will be formally launched by Dechen Tsering, UN Environment Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. The following topics will be presented by the panel:

  • Jian LIU, UN Environment Chief Scientist: The Global Challenge of Air Pollution Control (5 min)
  • Jianhua YU, Deputy Director General of Beijing Municipal Ecology and Environment Bureau: 20 Years’ of Air Pollution Control in Beijing (5 min)
  • Kebin HE: Dean and Professor, School of Environment, Tsinghua University, China: Air Pollution Control Progress and Assessment in Beijing (8 min)
  • Michael WALSH, International Expert and Advisor at the International Council on Clean Transportation: Beijing’s Vehicle Emission Control Experience (5 min)
  • Short Video: Application of innovative technologies in PM2.5 monitoring (4 min)
  • Questions and Answers (20 min).

The report will be made available in Chinese and English.