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Real-time air quality data released in China

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CNTV, January 3, 2013
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People in more than 70 Chinese cities can now find out more about the air they’re breathing. Real time reports are being collected from nearly 500 monitoring stations nationwide, showing how much air pollutants, including sulfur dioxide, ozone, PM2.5 and other particles is in the atmosphere. Experts say the move aims to improve the country’s air quality monitoring system, as the new data now includes PM2.5.

"It’s very necessary to invest in this network. For a long time China’s air pollutants monitoring system lacked information on such as fine particles and ozone, which largely contribute to dust haze and smog in cities."

Ma says setting up the official website and releasing real-time information is an important step in preventing environmental pollution, raising public awareness, and also, serving the public’s right of information. In recent years, public demands to access more information on PM 2.5 have been growing. The index shows air particles with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less, which go deeper into the lungs than larger particles, and are extremely hazardous to health.

In the meantime the authorities have beefed up air quality control, and now the number of air-monitoring stations nationwide stand at more than 14 hundred, twice as many as in 2010. But a recent government report says in the first half of 2012, air quality in 33 Chinese cities including Beijing, Urumqi failed to pass the standard. Nevertheless, it still saw a reduction from 45 the previous year.

"It will take a rather long time for many Chinese cities to reach the air quality standard. For example, the annual average reading of Beijing’s PM2.5 level now has more than doubled the standard, which should be 35 micrograms per cubic meter. It may take up to two decades for the capital to lower that number, as high industrialization has resulted in high emissions."

Last year China set its first comprehensive air pollution control target. It’s hoping to cut its PM2.5 density by 5 percent every year through to 2015. Assessment will be made the following year.


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