BEIJING, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- China's Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) on Friday announced that many cities were hit by heavy air pollution on the eve of the Spring Festival due to unfavorable weather conditions and fireworks.
Among the 161 monitored cities, 68 were hit by "heavy air pollution" and 16 suffered "severe air pollution" at the night of Jan. 30, the eve of the Spring Festival.
The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center said earlier Friday that the city's air quality on the eve of the Spring Festival was "much better" than that of last year with less fireworks set off.
But the Chinese capital, together with Tianjin Municipality, Hebei Province and the Yangtze River Delta area, was still rated by the MEP as "heavily polluted" at the midnight of Jan. 30.
Fireworks were blamed for the serious air pollution, according the MEP.
An unidentified official with the MEP said the northern Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region should continue to suffer moderate to heavy air pollution on Feb. 1, due to the unfavorable atmospheric conditions.
From Feb. 2, cold air should head south and help blowing away pollution sources and improving the air quality of Beijing, said the official.