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Emergency measures boost city air quality

THE average air quality for the first five days of the World Expo was good, second on a five-level indicator, while emergency steps were taken in late April when authorities forecast poor air quality as a result of sandstorms from the north.

Authorities ordered big power plants to use low-sulfur coal for cleaner emissions, more frequent road washing to control flying dust, tightened supervision on construction sites and required major industries, like steel and chemical makers, to reduce production.

The effects of emergency measures were seen in the early hours of May 1, when the Expo opened, officials told a news conference yesterday.

Officials from the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau said authorities had set up 46 automatic monitoring stations to cover the whole city, especially the Expo site, and in about 30 cities in the nearby provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang to forecast environmental problems and air quality issues.

They should issue alarms on high pollution 48 hours ahead so timely action can be taken to avert problems.

"The Yangtze Delta region suffered slight air pollution due to sandstorms starting on April 26," said Zhang Quan, director of the bureau. "We kicked off the emergency system on April 29 and the results were satisfactory."

Environmental protection and low carbon were key tasks during the preparation, construction and operation of the Expo and most measures would be adopted after Expo, officials said.

Altogether 272 companies discharging pollutants have been shut or moved near the Expo site during the preparation period and more than 1 million square meters of green land has been built in the Expo site.

About a sixth of the old workshops and buildings at the Expo site were made use of in construction, according to the bureau.

All the landscape illumination in the Expo site used the light-emitting diode system and more than 1,000 pollution-free vehicles were on duty for public transport inside the site, Zhang said.

"Though we made some achievements and 91.5 percent of the days last year were either excellent and good, environmental protection is far from enough in Shanghai," Zhang said.

"We will focus on the control of particulate matters and ozone in follow-up plans.

"They not only impact upon air viability and quality but also harm people's health."


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