report by the State Council on the completion of environmental conditions and environmental protection goals for the year 2022
In 2022, the national ecological environment quality maintained an improvement trend, and the environmental security situation remained basically stable. However, the difficulty of continuous improvement of the ecological environment significantly increased.
（1） Environmental air conditions. The air quality is steadily improving, and the concentration of fine particles continues to decrease. The average concentration of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in cities at or above the prefecture level nationwide is 29 micrograms per cubic meter, a year-on-year decrease of 3.3%, and for the first time, it has decreased to within 30 micrograms per cubic meter, achieving a continuous decline in the past 10 years. 74.6% of cities in China have reached the standard for PM2.5 average concentration, an increase of 15 cities compared to the same period last year. The average concentration of PM2.5 in Beijing has decreased to 30 micrograms per cubic meter, reaching the second level air quality standard for two consecutive years. The concentration of major pollutants remains stable and meets the standards, with a significant reduction in the number of days of heavy pollution. The average concentrations of six major pollutants, namely PM2.5, inhalable particulate matter (PM10), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and ozone (O3), have consistently reached the standard for three consecutive years. The proportion of days with severe or above pollution is 0.9%, a year-on-year decrease of 0.4 percentage points, and for the first time, it has decreased to within 1%. The atmospheric environment governance in key regions still needs to be strengthened. The proportion of days with excellent air quality in cities at or above the prefecture level nationwide is 86.5%, a decrease of 1.0 percentage points year-on-year; The proportion of days with good air quality in the Beijing Tianjin Hebei and surrounding areas, the Yangtze River Delta region, and the Fenwei Plain decreased by 0.5 percentage points, 3.7 percentage points, and 5.0 percentage points respectively year-on-year. The average concentration of PM2.5 in the Beijing Tianjin Hebei and surrounding areas, as well as in the Fenwei Plain, exceeds 25.7% and 31.4% respectively. Atmospheric pollution in autumn and winter is still severe, and regional heavy pollution weather processes still occur from time to time.
（2） Water environment conditions. The quality of surface water environment continues to improve. The proportion of Class I-III surface water quality sections in China is 87.9%, an increase of 3.0 percentage points year-on-year; The proportion of poor Class V water quality sections is 0.7%, a year-on-year decrease of 0.5 percentage points. Further improvement of water quality in key river basins. The water quality of the Yangtze River basin, the Pearl River basin, Zhejiang and Fujian rivers, southwest rivers and northwest rivers continues to be excellent, while the water quality of the Yellow River basin, Huaihe River basin and Liaohe River basin is good. Among them, the main stream of the Yangtze River has continuously reached Class II water quality for three years, and the main stream of the Yellow River has reached Class II water quality for the first time. The overall quality of groundwater remains stable. The proportion of Class I-IV water quality points in groundwater nationwide is 77.6%, and the proportion of Class V water quality points is 22.4%. The problem of excessive characteristic pollutants in groundwater around some key pollution sources has not been effectively controlled. The issue of imbalanced and uncoordinated water ecological environment remains prominent. The pollution problem during the flood season is prominent in some regions, and it is difficult to fundamentally eliminate black and odorous water bodies. Some key lakes still have a high incidence of blue-green algae blooms.
（3） The state of the marine environment. The overall stability of seawater quality in the waters under China’s jurisdiction. The area of sea areas that meet the first class standard in summer accounted for 97.4%, a year-on-year decrease of 0.3 percentage points. The overall trend of improving seawater quality in coastal waters across the country has been maintained, with the proportion of excellent (Class I and Class II) water quality reaching 81.9%, an increase of 0.6 percentage points year-on-year; The proportion of poor water quality in the fourth category was 8.9%, a year-on-year decrease of 0.7 percentage points. The problem of total nitrogen pollution of rivers entering the sea is gradually highlighted, and some coastal waters are still polluted, mainly distributed in Liaodong Bay, Bohai Bay, Laizhou Bay, Yangtze River Estuary, Hangzhou Bay, the Pearl River Estuary and other coastal waters. The main indicators exceeding the standard are inorganic nitrogen and reactive phosphate.
（4） Soil environmental conditions. The national soil environmental risks have been basically controlled, and the trend of soil pollution worsening has been preliminarily curbed. Promote the implementation of 124 soil pollution source control projects, guide 132 key counties to carry out investigation and remediation of the causes of heavy metal pollution in arable land, and include a total of 1744 plots in the list of soil pollution risk control and remediation for construction land. The national rural domestic sewage treatment rate has reached around 31%. The national safe utilization rate of agricultural land remains above 90%, and the overall soil environment of agricultural land is stable. The main pollutant affecting the soil environment quality of agricultural land is heavy metals. The safe utilization of key construction land has been effectively guaranteed.
（5） Ecological system status. The overall natural ecological situation in the country is stable. The Ecological Quality Index (EQI) value is 59.6, and the comprehensive evaluation of ecological quality is classified as “Class II”, with no significant changes compared to 2021. The national land ecological protection red line area accounts for over 30% of the land area, with a forest coverage rate of 24.02% and a comprehensive grassland vegetation coverage rate of 50.32%. Throughout the year, 3.83 million hectares of afforestation, 3.214 million hectares of grass planting and improvement, and 1.8473 million hectares of sandy and rocky desertification land were managed. The problem of ecological damage is prominent in some areas, and the overall trend of biodiversity decline has not been effectively curbed.
（6） Acoustic environment conditions. The overall quality of urban acoustic environment in China is stable. The total compliance rates of the sound environment quality in the functional area during the day and at night were 96.0% and 86.6%, respectively, with a year-on-year increase of 0.6 percentage points and 3.7 percentage points. Among them, the total nighttime compliance rates in Class 1 and Class 4a areas are relatively low, with 83.1% and 70.4%, respectively.
（7） Nuclear and radiation safety status. The overall situation of nuclear and radiation safety in the country is stable. There have been no nuclear incidents or accidents classified as Level 2 or above on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, and the annual incidence of radiation accidents from radioactive sources has remained stable at less than 1 per 10000. The overall quality of the national radiation environment and the level of radiation environment around key nuclear facilities are good.
（8） Environmental risk status. The national environmental security situation is basically stable. A total of 113 sudden environmental incidents occurred throughout the year, a year-on-year decrease of 43.2%. The number of major and major incidents remained basically the same as in previous years, and all incidents were properly handled. However, the frequent occurrence of secondary sudden environmental events caused by production safety accidents has not fundamentally changed.
Source: Environmental Association