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February 27, 2010

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Home » Metro » Environment

City readies air-quality safeguards during Expo

ON days when poor air quality threatens to becloud the World Expo, Shanghai will order big power plants and high-polluting industries to switch to low-sulfur coal, shut small-engine generators, halt paint spraying and stop construction that kicks up lots of dirt.

Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau yesterday released a World Expo air-quality plan.

It sets the government on course to especially monitor power plants, major industries like steel and chemical production, boilers, vehicles, restaurants and the burning of hay and rice stalks within 300 kilometers from the World Expo zone.

The government is also to monitor air quality around the city's two airports, big hotels, elevated roads and major scenic spots.

And it is supposed to take emergency measures whenever poor quality is forecast.

Officials said there is no plan to restrict vehicles specifically for pollution control, although the city may impose limits if traffic and pollution prove severe.

"Different from the two-week Beijing Olympics, the World Expo will run for 184 days and its duration from May to October is usually the period with the best weather and air quality in Shanghai," said Wei Huajun, director of the bureau's pollution prevention and control department.

"We detected eight days with poor air quality in the period last year. Pollution of four days was caused by burning hay and rice stalk in the farmlands, and four days was due to industrial pollution," Wei said.

He said most measures are routine practice and will ensure not only a clean Expo but also clear skies after the Expo and for a long run.

Wei said district-based environmental bureaus last year combed key pollution producers like power plants, chemical plants and restaurants. Cooking smoke is a source of volatile organic compound, an air pollutant harmful to people's health.

"Restaurants were ordered to wash their dirty kitchen hoods, and those with large cooking-smoke generation could be ordered to restrict service under emergency conditions," Wei said.

The city has coordinated with provinces of the Yangtze River Delta to supervise and forecast air quality supervision and, when needed, to take emergency steps.

"Out-of-town coaches with black smoke are our biggest headache," Wei said.


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