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June 5, 2012

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Home » Metro » Environment

Air quality improving after city action plans

SHANGHAI saw 337 days, or 92.3 percent, of excellent and good air quality last year while the water environment remained stable, levels of acid rain, dust and noise pollution dropped and radiation was normal, the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau announced yesterday.

The bureau said the city's general environmental quality was improving after several rounds of environmental protection action plans since 2000.

The air quality on 337 days last year met the national requirement of excellent and good, the highest two tiers in a 5-tier category, the bureau said. It was the third consecutive year that Shanghai had more than 90 percent of high quality days.

PM10 particles, inhalable particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter, were the top pollutant on 356 days, according to the bureau's Shanghai Environmental Bulletin 2011.

Among three monitored items, nitrogen dioxide was the top pollutant on just eight days while particles and sulfur dioxide topped the list on one day last year.

According to the bureau, the daily density of PM10 last year met the nation's standard for residential, industrial and rural areas.

Though the PM10 reading last year was higher than in 2010, Expo year, the overall density of PM10 was dropping between 2007 and 2011, the bureau said.

However, officials said such a record of excellent and good air quality was expected to drop after Shanghai adopted the stricter PM2.5 measure.

Shanghai is preparing for an official release of PM2.5 readings this year.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection issued a new air quality monitoring standard by adding PM2.5, ozone and carbon monoxide into the evaluation system.

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. It can affect air quality and visibility and explains why what people are experiencing is sometimes different from the official air quality evaluation.

The bureau also said yesterday that the city government dealt with 1,154 environment-related cases in 2011, issuing fines totalling 42.5 million yuan (US$6.69 million) for breaches of environmental standards.


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