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It's good news: Shanghai's PM2.5 levels are down and green spaces are on the up

Next goal? Ecological city by 2025

Photograph: Yu Zhiming
If you haven’t noticed already, air quality in Shanghai has been on the up over the past five years. In news that’ll help us all breathe a little easier, according to Shine, the city’s PM2.5 levels last year were down by 36 percent from 2015. The emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides also dropped by 47 and 28 percent respectively between 2016 and 2020.

Some of the main factors attributed to the environmental improvements include ongoing efforts to reduce reliance on coal as a primary energy source, a surge in the purchase of new energy vehicles and a lot more green space across the city – which is probably the most noticeable change that can be felt by us all.

Shine reports that Shanghai is now home to 406 parks, up from 165 in 2015, with greenery covering 18.5 percent of the city. As of the end of December last year, the city is home to more than 1,000 kilometres of greenways in parks, gardens and forests as well as alongside rivers and roads all over the city.

Completed by the end of 2020, a 42-kilometre greenway running along Suzhou Creek is the latest addition to the project. Part of the government’s public space project, the picturesque walking route connects six districts and sections, also intercepting other new green spaces en route.

As for what’s in store over the next five years, chief engineer of the Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau Zhu Xinjun tells the paper that the goal is to build an ‘ecological city to satisfy growing public demand for a beautiful green environment’ by 2025.

So, it’s fair to assume that we’ll have even more green space to look forward in the years to come. And, in the meantime, a Sunday stroll alongside the Suzhou Creek walkway sounds pretty good.

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