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May 18, 2013

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Home » Metro » Environment

City intends to beef up pollution fight by issuing PM2.5 forecasts

SHANGHAI will start issuing PM2.5 forecasts later this year, initially offering 24-hour predictions before going to 48-hour forecasts, Zhang Quan, director of the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau, said yesterday.

PM2.5 refers to airborne particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. They are the main cause of urban smog and are harmful to human health.

Only 59 days, or 65 percent, in the first quarter this year were not polluted. Air quality in January was the lowest since Shanghai introduced PM2.5 air quality monitoring, mainly due to smog and haze that smothered a large part of China.

The city recorded 10 heavy pollution days in the first quarter, according to the bureau.

"PM2.5 forecasts are not easy and we need time to improve our accuracy through long-term studies and close cooperation with the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau," Zhang said.

The PM2.5 forecasts will be used by the government to study how to reduce PM2.5 pollution.

The central government is considering amending industry, energy and transportation laws to reduce pollution and punish violators more severely.

"Shanghai will also enact measures to cut PM2.5 emissions, including adopting the National Emission Standard V, equivalent to the Euro V standard, for new cars this year and stepping up control of vehicles with high emissions," Zhang said.

Wang Wenhua, a professor from Shanghai Jiao Tong University's school of environmental science and engineering, said Shanghai uses a huge amount of energy and resources every day and urged the government to speed up the introduction of clean energy sources and establish a complete system for improving the environment.

The central government is also considering charging an emissions tax on factories, Zhang said.

"Domestic lawmakers and political consultants, including officials like me, are calling for the government to introduce an emission tax and scrap the current emission fee since a tax is more legal, powerful and effective," he said. "The central government is stepping up studies and I believe trials will be introduced soon. The Yangtze River Delta, especially a city like Shanghai, should be involved in the trials."


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