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 to go to meet national air quality standards in the Chinese capital, according to Professor Wang Wen-Xing and his team from the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences in Beijing, in the People's Republic of China.

Wen-Xing’s assessment of the quality of ambient air in Beijing has just been published online in Springer’s journal, Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health.Since the 1980s, the rapid industrial development, urbanization and increase in traffic have resulted in severe air pollution in Beijing. And with the Olympic Games around the corner, international attention has focused on the quality of the air in the capital.

Wen-Xing and colleagues measured the concentrations of well-known air pollutants in Beijing in August and September 2007, the same summer period the Olympic Games will be taking place this year, in order to get a picture of the likely air quality during the Games. They compared their results against The National Ambient Air Quality Standard. The purpose of their study was to inform measures to improve the air quality of the capital, in anticipation of the Olympic Games.

The researchers found that average daily concentrations of sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide were lower than the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for China. Nitrogen dioxide levels met the Standard, whereas concentrations of ozone and inhalable particles were higher than the Standard. The concentrations of air pollutants were also higher at night than during the day. According to the authors, the main causes of this air pollution are vehicle emissions – in recent years, the number of cars in Beijing has increased sharply at a rate of 10-20% a year - and weather conditions, particularly dry air and lack of rain which hinder the diffusion and deposition of pollutants.

A series of measures such as reducing vehicle emissions, encouraging the use of public transport, eliminating polluting factories, and improving fuel quality have been in place since 1998 to reduce the emissions and concentrations of air pollutants in Beijing. These measures have already significantly reduced air pollution in the Chinese capital.

However, in comparison to other Olympic sites around the world, including Helsinki and Los Angeles, “Beijing’s air quality needs to improve” says Wen-Xing. He concludes that the Chinese Government is committed to reducing the air pollution in Beijing further, for cleaner air in time for the Games this summer.

Source: Springer

Explore further: UN sends team to clean up Bangladesh oil spill

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

People finding their 'waze' to once-hidden streets

3 hours ago

When the people whose houses hug the narrow warren of streets paralleling the busiest urban freeway in America began to see bumper-to-bumper traffic crawling by their homes a year or so ago, they were baffled.

Identity theft victims face months of hassle

3 hours ago

As soon as Mark Kim found out his personal information was compromised in a data breach at Target last year, the 36-year-old tech worker signed up for the retailer's free credit monitoring offer so he would ...

Observers slam 'lackluster' Lima climate deal

3 hours ago

A carbon-curbing deal struck in Lima on Sunday was a watered-down compromise where national intransigence threatened the goal of a pact to save Earth's climate system, green groups said.

Your info has been hacked. Now what do you do?

4 hours ago

Criminals stole personal information from tens of millions of Americans in data breaches this past year. Of those affected, one in three may become victims of identity theft, according to research firm Javelin. ...

New Bond script stolen in Sony hack

4 hours ago

An "early version" of the screenplay for the new James Bond film was the latest victim of a massive hacking attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment, its producers said in a statement on their website Sunday.

Ag-tech could change how the world eats

9 hours ago

Investors and entrepreneurs behind some of the world's newest industries have started to put their money and tech talents into farming - the world's oldest industry - with an audacious agenda: to make sure there is enough ...

Recommended for you

Compromises lead to climate change deal

6 minutes ago

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 ...

Finding innovative solutions for reducing CO2 emissions

2 hours ago

Today, the company Gaznat SA and EPFL signed an agreement for the creation of two new research chairs. The first one will study ways to seize carbon dioxide (CO2) at its production source and increase its value ...

Rolling lab tracks methane to its source

3 hours ago

McHenry Township, Lycoming County. Equipped with a gray box, a map and an SUV, Thomas Lauvaux and a team from Penn State's Department of Meteorology has been at it for hours, taking measurements and racking ...

What we've learned from the Boxing Day tsunami

3 hours ago

Much has been learned from the devastating experience of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, and it's had lasting benefits for disaster management plans in Australia, according to forensic staff from the University of Adelaide.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

DeeSmith
5 / 5 (1) May 14, 2008
The primary cause of air pollution in China continues to be industrial emissions, much of it driven by inadequate emission controls on coal-fired power plants. Coal produced in China is fueling much of the consumer mania for large homes and cars in a suburban setting, resulting in rapid construction of new housing developments and rapid urbanization of rural areas. The air pollution is incredibly bad in most Chinese urban centers and, increasingly, for rural areas as well.

This is a brand new journal (launched a few months ago). Its very easy to get papers published in new journals. Any reputable journal would have laughed at the authors supposition that Beijing is anywhere near close to having air quality standards met. If you don't yet get my drift, look up the term 'Yellow Dust'. Over and above air pollution from regional combustion emissions, and local cooking fires, industrial pollution, and automotive exhaust, is the nearly ubiquitous particulate mineral dust loading from nearby deserts due to spectacular land erosion issues. Throw in prolonged seasons of brush fires during dry season, and you have piss poor air quality conditions for a very large chunk of Chinese population.

Why should you be concerned? It's being 'exported' to the US and Canada, via trans-Pacific weather transport. It's a transboundary pollution issue.

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.