Beijing vows better pollution data after smog anger

Nov 02, 2011
A woman wears a mask as she rides a bicycle in Beijing on October 31, 2011. Authorities in Beijing have pledged to improve the way they measure air quality amid accusations they massively underestimate pollution in the Chinese capital, state media said Wednesday.

Authorities in Beijing have pledged to improve the way they measure air quality amid accusations they massively underestimate pollution in the Chinese capital, state media said Wednesday.

Thick smog that blanketed the city on Monday and Tuesday highlighted a huge discrepancy between official data ranking the at the time as "slight" and US embassy measurements ranking Beijing's quality as "hazardous".

With growing numbers of Beijing residents trusting the American figures over their own government, the popular state-run Global Times newspaper said city authorities were considering overhauling their own measuring system.

"The Beijing bureau applies the current national standard, which is undergoing an amendment," the Global Times quoted Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau's Du Shaozhong as saying.

The discrepancy is because China currently only measures large particles that pollute the air, while the US system also includes the smaller particles that make up much of the pollution in Beijing, the paper said.

China currently measures between 2.5 and 10 micrometres (393.7 microinches) in diameter, known as PM10.

Scientists say Beijing's pollution is mostly caused by fine smaller than 2.5 micrometres, or PM2.5, which are considered more dangerous to .

"Technically we are ready to adopt the PM2.5 standard," Du said on his microblog site.

International organisations including the United Nations list Beijing as one of the most polluted cities in the world, mainly due to its growing , much of which is still fuelled by coal.

The discrepancy between the two sets of figures has sparked a debate in Chinese media and among web users, with some saying they suffered from headaches and nausea and disputing the government's assessment of the pollution as "slight".

The Global Times on Monday urged the government to "be cooperative in avoiding confusing information" about air pollution.

"Figures by some local governments show the air pollution index is dropping in some cities, such as Beijing... But some Beijing citizens complain the figures do not match their experience," it said in an editorial.

Explore further: Conservation scientists asking wrong questions on climate change impacts on wildlife

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Beijing air pollution 'hazardous': US embassy

Oct 31, 2011

Air pollution in Beijing reached "hazardous" levels on Monday, the US embassy said, as thick smog blanketed the city for the third day running, forcing the closure of highways and cancellation of flights.

Beijing air pollution off the charts, US says

Feb 21, 2011

Thick smog blanketing Beijing went "beyond" measurable pollution levels on Monday, the US embassy said, as a Chinese official warned people to stay indoors and avoid outdoor activities.

Beijing launches action plan to fight pollution

Apr 19, 2011

Beijing -- one of the world's most polluted cities -- launched a five-year action plan on Tuesday that aims to improve the environment by phasing out coal-fired boilers and reducing bad air days.

Study says Chinese air quality standards not yet met

May 13, 2008

With the Olympic Games in sight, the Chinese Government is committed to improving the air quality in Beijing, and has had measures in place since 1998 which have already made a difference. However, there is still some way ...

China launches hourly air quality data index

Nov 26, 2010

China has started publishing hourly air-quality information for major cities across the country as the world's top source of greenhouse gas emissions tries to rein in its notorious pollution.

Beijing vehicles exceed four million: state media

Dec 19, 2009

The number of registered vehicles in Beijing topped four million this week, state media reported, meaning a quarter of the 16 million permanent residents in China's capital have a car.

Recommended for you

Selective logging takes its toll on mammals, amphibians

19 minutes ago

The selective logging of trees in otherwise intact tropical forests can take a serious toll on the number of animal species living there. Mammals and amphibians are particularly sensitive to the effects of ...

Big data confirms climate extremes are here to stay

Jul 30, 2014

In a paper published online today in the journal Scientific Reports, published by Nature, Northeastern researchers Evan Kodra and Auroop Ganguly found that while global temperature is indeed increasing, so too is the variab ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

mountain_team_guy
1 / 5 (1) Nov 02, 2011
That crap is polluting Seoul as I type. And to think it was the left that has been pushing for global communism and all that comes with it.
rawa1
not rated yet Nov 02, 2011
"Technically we are ready to adopt the PM2.5 standard," Du said on his microblog site.
Is this whole article just about one twit?