Beijing’s Air Is Cleaner, but Far From Clean

A nuanced look at ’s air, from Michael Wines at the New York Times:

No, the surprise is this: Beijing’s air is actually getting cleaner.

China may have a hard-earned reputation for long-neglected and fearsome environmental problems, from poisoned rivers to chemical-belching smelters. But the nation’s capital, Beijing, is trying hard to clean up its dirty air.

The results show up not only in recent pitch-perfect October days, but in the data that for years have presented a bleak picture of pollution here.

Through September, the government counted 221 days in which the 0-to-500 pollution index — the lower the number, the better — was below 101. It was the greatest number of “blue-sky days,” as the city calls them, since daily measurements were first published in 1998.

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