China to more than double air monitoring network

Mar 15, 2013
The Forbidden City in Beijing viewed from Jingshan Park amid smog on January 30, 2013. China will more than double the number of cities covered by air quality monitoring, a top environment official says, as part of efforts to tackle heavy smog that has sparked huge public anger.

China will more than double the number of cities covered by air quality monitoring, a top environment official said Friday, as part of efforts to tackle heavy smog that has sparked huge public anger.

Swathes of acrid haze have repeatedly shrouded large parts of the country in recent months, provoking outrage among Internet users and unusually outspoken calls for action in state-run media.

By the end of this year China will release statistics for concentrations of PM2.5— that penetrate deep into the lungs—in a total of 190 cities, up from 74 in January, said Wu Xiaoqing, a vice minister of environmental protection.

The move "will provide an effective measure to supervise local governments at all levels to make up their mind in addressing ," he said on the sidelines of China's annual parliament session, the National People's Congress.

The Forbidden City in Beijing viewed from Jingshan Park during clear weather on February 1, 2013. Swathes of acrid haze have repeatedly shrouded large parts of China in recent months, provoking outrage among Internet users and unusually outspoken calls for action in state-run media.

China's leaders have repeatedly stated the importance of cutting pollution, but responsibility for reducing emissions falls to bureaucrats at local levels, where economic growth usually takes precedence and laws can be compromised by bribery.

The move would help people "learn about local air quality in a timely, faithful and accurate manner", Wu added.

He said the government had set a target to cut the PM2.5 density by six percent by 2015 from 2010 levels in key areas including Beijing and the industrial powerhouses of the Pearl and Yangtze .

During recent bouts of pollution the capital has seen particulate levels almost 40 times (WHO) limits, and the pollution is inflicting a heavy toll on both human health and economic activity.

Nearly half of China's emissions of PM2.5 come from coal burning, with the rest mostly from and construction.

The US embassy in Beijing releases its own pollution data for readings from its monitor which sometimes differ from official figures.

Explore further: Hopes, fears, doubts surround Cuba's oil future

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Two-thirds of China's cities fail on air standards

Mar 02, 2012

(AP) -- Two-thirds of China's cities currently fail to meet stricter air quality standards that the government wants to phase in over four years to combat notoriously smoggy skies, a senior Chinese environmental ...

China tells US to stop reporting Beijing's bad air

Jun 05, 2012

(AP) — China told foreign embassies Tuesday to stop publishing their own reports on air quality in the country, escalating its objections to a popular U.S. Embassy Twitter feed that tracks pollution in ...

China orders nationwide emission cuts by 2015

Dec 20, 2011

China on Tuesday ordered local governments to reduce emissions of "major pollutants" by as much as 10 percent by 2015, amid growing public anxiety over the country's bad air.

Recommended for you

Hopes, fears, doubts surround Cuba's oil future

17 hours ago

One of the most prolific oil and gas basins on the planet sits just off Cuba's northwest coast, and the thaw in relations with the United States is giving rise to hopes that Cuba can now get in on the action.

New challenges for ocean acidification research

Dec 19, 2014

Over the past decade, ocean acidification has received growing recognition not only in the scientific area. Decision-makers, stakeholders, and the general public are becoming increasingly aware of "the other carbon dioxide ...

Compromises lead to climate change deal

Dec 19, 2014

Earlier this month, delegates from the various states that make up the UN met in Lima, Peru, to agree on a framework for the Climate Change Conference that is scheduled to take place in Paris next year. For ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.