It's not just Beijing air quality that's getting better. Apparently the spate of air pollution reduction is spreading throughout China, as Greenpeace East Asia reported that air quality improved across the country. 

Almost 200 cities saw improvements in air quality, while only 18 saw PM 2.5 levels rise, the report said. 

Greenpeace's report is independent confirmation of what the government had indicated earlier this year for Beijing, a reduction of pollutants by about 15 percent. 

PM 2.5 readings were down by 15.2 percent January-June, Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

However, the average reading of 77.7 micrograms per cubic meter is still more than double the target of 35 micrograms per cubic meter, the Bureau said.

"Sulfur dioxide dropped by 41 percent, nitrogen dioxide by 15 percent and PM 10 by 13 percent," the report said, citing further progress in air pollution reduction.

Heavy pollution days were also down in 2014. Beijing closed a coal-burning power plant in the city center in late March, part of a move to shutter all four such power plants in Beijing by 2016.

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