Bowing to increasing public concern about poor air quality, the Chinese government has approved strict new air pollution standards, including tougher rules for ozone and for particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. The new rules, approved during an executive meeting of the State Council and published online, order tougher air standards beginning this year in major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Tinjin; 27 provincial capitals; and three heavily industrialized regions. Another 113 cities must adopt the new standards by next year, and all but the nation’s smallest cities must comply by 2015. According to the announcement, the council also pledged to improve the quality of gasoline and raise auto emissions standards. Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, called the standards “a major step forward” in addressing air pollution in China. “It doesn’t mean that the sky will turn blue automatically because at the end of the day we still need to cut off these emissions,” he said.