BEIJING, April 10 (Xinhua) -- Chinese cities reported more "good air" days in March, despite the overall deterioration of air quality in the first quarter, official data showed Monday.
Last month, the 338 cities monitored by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) enjoyed good air quality on 83 percent of days, up 11.8 percentage points from the same period last year.
The average density of PM2.5, fine particulate matter that causes smog, came in at 48 micrograms per cubic meter, down 17.2 percent.
The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region posted 66.3 percent of days with good air quality, a year-on-year increase of 14.6 percentage points, while the share of days with good air quality during the first quarter declined 7.5 percentage points year on year to 52.1 percent, according to the MEP.
The MEP data also showed that over the month the Pearl River Delta saw 95 percent of the month's days were good air quality, a year-on-year increase of 5.1 percentage points, while the share of days with good air quality during Q1 declined 5.5 percentage points from a year earlier.
Experts said Q1's air pollution was due to unfavorable weather conditions, which meant that pollutants were not dispersed and there was a rebound of industrial production and market demand during the period.
The MEP announced last Wednesday its largest national inspection, which will see more than two dozen cities in north China undergo a strict one-year inspection.
Some 5,600 environmental inspectors will be sent to Beijing, Tianjin, and 26 smaller cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and nearby areas to check on implementation of pollution control targets and emission standards.
The ministry last Friday criticized ceramic enterprises in north China's Hebei Province, for insufficient efforts on pollution control.