BEIJING, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Only eight of the 74 major Chinese cities subject to air quality monitoring met the national standard for clear air in 2014, official figures showed on Monday.
Six of the eight cities are on the eastern or eastern coast. Haikou, Zhoushan, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Huizhou and Fuzhou are joined by Lhasa and Kunming elsewhere in the country, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
China began to include an index of PM2.5, a key indicator of air pollution, and ozone in a new air quality standard at the beginning of 2013. The 74 cities have been chosen as pilots for the new standard.
In 2013, only three of the 74 met the standard.
The ministry said the general condition of serious pollution has changed little, though the average number of days with heavy smog in the 74 cities decreased by about 11 days from the 32 days in 2013.
The metropolitan area centered on Beijing and Tianjin was the most seriously polluted, with eight of the 13 cities in the area featuring on a list of the 10 smoggiest cities.
The average number of days with standard air quality in the area in 2014 was 156, 85 days fewer than the national average. The annual average intensity of PM2.5 in the area was more than 1.6 times stronger than the standard figure, according to the statistics.