Beijing, Jan 10 (IANS) Beijing saw major air pollutants plummet in the the last quarter of 2017 following a string of measures to improve air quality, the Chinese Environment Ministry said on Wednesday.

The density of PM2.5 in Beijing dropped by 53.8 per cent in the October-December period year-on-year, while that for December plummeted by nearly 70 per cent, Xinhua quoted the Ministry's statement as saying.

An air pollution plan issued by the State Council in September 2013 ordered Beijing to reduce its PM2.5 density from 90 micrograms per cubic metre in 2013 to around 60 by the end of 2017.

The average density of PM2.5 in Beijing was 58 micrograms per cubic meter in 2017 after effective pollution controls were put in place, including demolition of coal-fired boilers and the phasing out of vehicles with high emissions.

The statement showed that 28 monitored cities saw an average drop in PM2.5 density of 34.3 per cent in last quarter of 2017.

Shijiazhuang achieved the biggest progress by reducing PM2.5 density by 54.8 per cent.

Clear air was expected in early January in north China, and the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in particular, thanks to a strong cold front.

However, these areas might see worsening air quality in late January and early February due to unfavourable weather conditions, the statement said.

--IANS

in/vm