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Air Monitoring Possible for All Cities Soon

All large and medium-sized Chinese cities will see an increase in air quality monitoring systems and monitoring points by 2010.


Meanwhile, a total of 150 million yuan (US$18 million) has been invested to set up air quality monitoring systems across the country since 2000, when officials turned their attention to strengthening the monitoring of air quality.


Currently there are more than 220 cities which have their air quality monitoring systems in place, and 42 other cities will have these systems in place by the end of this year, according to Liu Qifeng, vice-director of the planning department under the State Environmental Protection Administration.


However, he pointed out that existing systems have altogether only about 600 monitoring points, far from the reasonable number of 1,200.


Building more monitoring points, strengthening of the capacity of inspecting organic pollutants in the air and the enhancing exchanges with the international community in this area will be the main tasks for the future, he added.


He stressed that domestically-manufactured equipment will play a major role in air quality monitoring systems, while foreign techniques and equipment will provide a helping hand.


Lu Xiuling, vice-head of the China National Environmental Monitoring Center, said the central government has allocated more than 80 million yuan (US$9.7 million) worth of the total investment since 2000, while local governments have provided the rest.


About 180 cities, including large and medium-sized ones like Beijing and Shanghai, are issuing daily reports on air quality, and more than 80 are offering air quality forecasts, according to Lu.


She said that by the end of next year, more than 280 cities will be able to issue daily air quality reports.


China has also been making efforts to introduce foreign experience in environmental monitoring.


Under a Sino-Italian environmental cooperation project, an air quality monitoring system was built in Suzhou, east China's Jiangsu Province and was officially put into use yesterday.


The system includes nine fixed automatic monitoring stations that are scattered throughout the city and one monitoring vehicle that can go anywhere which might have serious air pollution and collect data in this area.


According to Liu Fenglei, vice-director of the Suzhou Environmental Monitoring Station, the system adopts advanced Italian equipment and techniques and greatly upgrades the city's capacity for analyzing collected air quality data.


"Before we had this system, the equipment we used failed to analyze large quantities of data," he said.


In addition, the system makes it possible for air quality inspectors to have an idea about the stability of air quality in the area, Liu said.


A joint venture will be established to produce and promote the equipment adopted by the Suzhou system, according to Liu Yi, an official with the State Environmental Protection Administration.


A two-day conference opened yesterday in Suzhou, during which Chinese and Italian officials and experts discussed the results of the project.


The project, together with another one on energy planning, is part of a Sino-Italian environmental cooperation program, which was launched by the two governments in 2000.


(China Daily May 25, 2004)

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