The average reading for PM2.5, or dangerous airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter, in the 74 cities was 76 micrograms per cubic meter, but in Beijing and its surrounding areas, the average reading was 115 micrograms per cubic meter in the first half of 2013.
On the contrary to Chinese officials, independent foreign institutions in China claim the average reading to be 180 micrograms per cubic meter in Beijing and the surrounding areas.
Coal-burning, automobile emissions, construction projects and industry are listed as the main causes of air pollution.
Environment Minister Zhou earlier said that the government was making an action plan to improve air quality during the 2013-2017 period. The plan aims to reduce air pollution by 25 percent at a cost of nearly $277 billion.
Over 20 million people with asthma live in China, the state that embodies the most polluted 16 cities of the world.