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July 10, 2012

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Home » Metro » Environment

Clean air benchmark has worst air quality

AUTHORITIES are looking for a new spot to serve as a clean air benchmark as its current benchmark spot has had higher readings for PM2.5 pollution than nine other monitoring locations used in the local air quality evaluation system.

The PM2.5 readings at Dianshanhu monitoring spot in Qingpu District, which are used only for reference, have been higher than other locations since the city began releasing the spots' hourly and 24-hour average data and the city's average PM2.5 readings in a trial in late June. Dianshanhu also is the only spot in the city with PM2.5 readings over the national standard yesterday.

PM2.5 measures particles of 2.5 microns or less in diameter. PM2.5 will be included in the city's overall air quality evaluation system at the end of this year.

Benchmark set long ago

The city government said in its microblog, after receiving questions about readings at Dianshanhu, that the benchmark spot was set in the 1990s since it was a rural area without industries.

"We are doing research for a new benchmark spot, which is likely to be at the seaside with few impacts from the downtown areas and industrial pollution," said Liu Dailing from Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau. "Lingang in Pudong New Area and other spots are all our candidates."

She said the ten spots were all set up under requirements of the state environment authority regarding the city's size and its industrial scale and supervised by the state government. "So a change of a spot should receive approval of the Ministry of Environmental Protection," she said. "We will report to the ministry before deciding the location of a new benchmark spot."

Officials said Dianshanhu is not an ideal benchmark since it is at the boundary of Shanghai and neighboring Jiangsu Province - and is influenced by Jiangsu's plants and straw burning to the west and by downtown pollutants to the east.

Air quality yesterday was good in Shanghai, with a 24-hour average PM2.5 reading of 65 micrograms per cubic meter by 6pm, lower than the national standard of 75 micrograms. The 24-hour data at Dianshanhu was about 90 micrograms per cubic meter by 6pm yesterday.


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