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Hazardous PM2.5 particles 17% down on last year

    Shanghai has enjoyed better air conditions this year with the average concentration of the hazardous to health PM2.5 particles dropping to 37 micrograms per cubic meter over the first nine months of the year.

    This figure is 17.4 percent lower than the same period last year, according to the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau.

    By September, the number of days with perfect air quality reached 202 this year, raising the rate to 74 percent, a 0.3 percent increase on last year, data showed.

    About 30 percent of the city’s PM2.5 emission comes from vehicles and vessels. This problem can be alleviated by controlling such emissions and promoting new energy vehicles, the officials added.

    The transport authority said there are now 5,800 “eco-friendly buses” running in Shanghai, accounting for 35 percent of the total. This year 2,100 buses will be replaced by new energy versions.

    The city’s water quality has improved, too. Rivers found with poorer water quality was 15 percent down on last year.

    The bureau said it had handled over 3,900 cases in the first 10 months of this year with fines of 390 million yuan (US$59 million) by the end of last month — a rise of 130 percent.

    Companies that discharged pollutants without permission, forged monitoring data, or whose emissions exceeded the legal limit were punished heavily by law enforcement officials.