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Guangdong to Tackle Dust

Guangdong is expected to introduce a dust cloud warning system to help check the province's worsening air pollution.

Meteorological departments have established observation stations in Guangzhou's Panyu District, as well as in the cities of Zhongshan, Dongguan and Foshan in the prosperous Pearl River Delta.

"The move aims to further monitor the province's dusty weather and help collect more first-hand material for future introduction of the new warning system," said Wu Dui, a researcher from the Guangzhou Research Institute of Tropical Oceanic Meteorology.

"If everything goes smoothly, the new warning system will be introduced in two years," he said yesterday, a step that would make Guangdong the first province in the country to introduce such a scheme.

In addition to communications departments, the system could also benefit drivers, sailors, school children and tourists.

Guangdong has traditionally issued warnings for typhoons, storms, or severe cold, all of which have helped local government departments, companies and residents take precautions.

Guangzhou, the provincial capital, and other major cities in the Pearl River Delta, have been hit by increasingly dusty weather this year. Most recently, a haze of dust has plagued the city for over 20 days since mid-October.

The number of days marked by dust clouds reached 125 in the first 10 months this year, compared with only 85 in 2002 and 98 last year. Last week, visibility on the ground was reduced to less than 2 kilometers.

Other Guangdong cities, including Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Dongguan, Foshan and Zhongshan, have also seen more dusty days this year.

Wu said severe drought may have contributed to the dusty weather and he called on cities to work together to fight the worsening air pollution, saying that a single city's efforts will have little effect.

An official from Guangdong's Bureau of Environmental Protection said contact has been established with their Hong Kong and Macao counterparts to look for strategies to curb pollution. He said the growing number of vehicles was partly behind worsening air quality and dusty weather.

Vehicle exhaust fumes contain poisonous nitrides and oxides, while cement and ceramics factories and thermal power plants discharge carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and dust. At the same time, the many skyscrapers prevent gases from dispersing.

To help prevent air pollution worsening, Guangdong is considering implementing the Europe III standard for vehicle emissions in 2005. From September, all the province's vehicles have been required to meet the Europe II standard.

Meanwhile, more pollution-causing enterprises will be shut down or moved in the coming new year.

(China Daily November 11, 2004)

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