BEIJING, July 21, Xinhua - The air quality in 60.3 percent of days in the first half of the year met national standards, up 1.6 percent from the same period in 2013, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said on Monday.

Major air pollutants, including PM2.5, PM10, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide, all dropped, according to the ministry.  

Beijing and its surrounding areas, including Tianjin and cities in north China's Hebei Province, reported the heaviest pollution, though the days that met national air standards rose by 3.2 percent compared with last year.  

The ten worst polluted cities were Xingtai, Shijiazhuang, Baoding, Tangshan, Handan, Hengshui, Jinan, Langfang, Xi'an and Tianjin. Nine are located near Beijing.