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Shanghai adopts new air quality standard next week

Under a new national standard for air quality monitoring, Shanghai will rate local air quality based on six indicators instead of three starting from November 16, officials from the Shanghai Environment Monitoring Center said today.

The center's website will issue daily and hourly readings of PM10, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, PM2.5, ozone and carbon monoxide. The six pollution indexes will be used to evaluate air quality and present a better picture of air pollution across the country.

Air quality will be indicated by six levels from excellent to severe pollution. Each level has a different color.

Currently, Shanghai rates its air quality only according to readings of PM10, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide.

Lin Chenyuan, a worker at the center, said the number of days with excellent and good air quality may drop by 30 percentage points on an annual basis in the new system.

"Of the three new indicators, PM2.5 draws the biggest public concern as it can affect air quality and visibility and make people doubt about the air quality forecast," Lin said.

PM2.5 is a measure of airborne pollutants smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are the main cause of urban smog and haze and are harmful to human health.


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