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January 28, 2013

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Home » Metro » Environment

Blue skies herald warm week ahead

THANKS to winds from the northeast, locals finally are seeing blue skies and breathing fresher air after conditions improved yesterday following three consecutive days with heavy pollution and a day with medium pollution.

The environmental authority announced the end of the latest round of air pollution, which was aggravated by regional haze and the accumulation of local pollutants due to little wind.

No significant haze or smog is forecast in the next few days. Environmental authorities late yesterday afternoon listed the real-time air quality index as 78, considered "moderate," second-best rating in the six-level system.

Shanghai also is expected to have a warm week. The temperature will climb steadily, up to 17 degrees Celsius on Thursday. It will be sunny with the high forecast to be 11 degrees Celsius today, forecasters said.

The Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center issued a notice announcing the air quality greatly improved at 7:43am, removing a four-day air pollution alert issued on Wednesday.

The city's key pollutant PM2.5, airborne particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, started to drop from 200 micrograms per cubic meter at 8pm on Saturday and remained at 30 to 40 micrograms per cubic meter all day yesterday. The nation's limit of PM2.5 is 75 micrograms per cubic meter over 24 hours.

The city is studying new measures to reduce fine particles, the major pollutant, to improve things this year, according to Bai Guoqiang, vice chief engineer of Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau. In Shanghai, the major sources of PM2.5 are vehicle exhaust, boiler emissions such as at power plants and other industrial discharge. Forecasting PM2.5 conditions is tough, Bai said, because it is linked closely with complicated meteorological conditions as well as many physical and chemical changes.

"We now have had an alert system when PM2.5 starts to rise to an alarming level," he said. "Shanghai has invested a lot to reduce industrial emissions. The city also is influenced by regional conditions. For instance, the recent haze covered almost the nation."

Cutting PM2.5 will improve the overall air quality, he said.


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