Shanghai to release PM2.5 data from June

Shanghai Daily, February 9, 2012

Shanghai will release figures detailing the amount of PM2.5 particles in the air from June, Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau said yesterday.

Sun Jian, the bureau's vice director, said the city would eliminate high-polluting vehicles and strengthen measures to control industrial plant emissions to reduce PM2.5, which is mainly caused by industrial processes and vehicle exhausts.

Sun said Shanghai would adopt a stricter emissions standard, equivalent to Europe's, on new cars from next year.

"Cleaner fuels will also be offered to control vehicle pollution," Sun said.

In December, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said Shanghai and Beijing would be among the first batch of cities to adopt PM2.5 and ozone monitoring, which will be widened to 113 key cities next year, all major cities in 2015 and nationwide in 2016.

Beijing started to release its PM2.5 data on January 21.

The PM2.5 measure is stricter than the current national PM10 standard as it monitors "fine" particles measuring 2.5 microns or less in diameter.

Experts say such particles pose major health risks as they are small enough to lodge deep in the lungs and even enter the bloodstream.

Officials from the Shanghai Science and Technology Commission said effective measures to reduce PM2.5 in the air were its main task this year.

The commission's Yu Qing said: "We are studying equipment being installed into vehicle exhaust pipes to reduce pollutant discharges, new methods to further reduce discharges like nitrogen oxide during power production and techniques to control flying dirt in construction sites."

Dr Bai Chunxue, director of Shanghai Medical Association's respiratory branch, said the harm caused by PM2.5 was more severe than smoking.

"Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer are major respiratory killer diseases in the nation, so we want to detect chemicals causing inflammation and cancerous change through study of PM2.5," Bai said.

Shanghai has failed to meet a proposed air quality standard for PM2.5 for the past five years. Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center data showed that the average density of PM2.5 was higher than a proposed PM2.5 standard every year since a pilot study began in 2005.