Revealed: China’s environmental improvements in 2022

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China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment, along with other departments, recently released the 2022 Report on China’s Environmental Conditions.

The report highlights positive trends in China’s ecological environment, including improved air and surface water quality, stable marine water quality, controlled soil environmental risks, stable natural ecosystems, urban acoustic environment quality, and overall nuclear and radiation safety.

According to the report, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentration in 339 cities above the prefectural level decreased by 3.3 percent to 29 micrograms per cubic meter, surpassing the annual target of 4.6 micrograms per cubic meter.

In terms of water quality, the proportion of surface water quality in classes I to III rose by 3 percentage points to reach 87.9 percent, surpassing the target by 4.1 percentage points.

For major rivers and regional water bodies, the proportion of sections with water quality in classes I to III reached 90.2 percent, marking a 3.2 percentage points increase.

The report highlights that soil environmental risks have been fundamentally controlled across the country, with stable soil conditions for agricultural land. Industrial firms achieved impressive removal rates: 96.5 percent for sulfur dioxide, 75.1 percent for nitrogen oxides, 97.9 percent for chemical oxygen demand, and 98.9 percent for ammonia nitrogen. The nationwide sewage treatment capacity reached 215 million cubic meters per day, with a treatment rate of 97.9 percent.

In terms of solid waste, the country generated 4.11 billion tons of general industrial solid waste, with 2.37 billion tons utilized and 890 million tons disposed of. Hazardous waste centralized utilization and disposal capacity reached approximately 180 million tons per year. Urban household waste’s harmless treatment capacity reached 1.09 million tons per day, with a treatment rate of 99.9 percent.

Agricultural land environment governance witnessed improvements in fertilizer utilization rates: 41.3 percent for rice, wheat, and corn crops. Nationwide comprehensive utilization rates were 78 percent for livestock and poultry manure, over 88 percent for straw, and above 80 percent for agricultural film recovery rate.