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April 2, 2015

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Pollution causes identified in 9 major cities

EMISSIONS from planes, trains and automobiles — as well as boats and trucks — are the biggest cause of air pollution in Shanghai, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection announced yesterday.

Speaking after a meeting on environmental monitoring, Vice Minister Wu Xiaoqing said that following extensive studies carried out in nine major cities, it was found that between 85 and 90 percent of their air pollution resulted from traffic emissions, heavy industry, coal burning and dust.

As in Shanghai, the major cause of air pollution in Beijing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou and Shenzhen is vehicle emissions, which contain a variety of toxins such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and PM2.5 particles, Wu said.

In Shijiazhuang in north and Nanjing in the east, coal burning is the primary offender, while in Tianjin the biggest problem is dust, and in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, it is heavy industry, he said.

Similar studies are under way in 26 other major cities, all of which are scheduled for completion by the end of the year, he said.

China’s environmental monitoring capabilities and efforts have taken a huge step forward in recent years, Wu said.

Real-time air quality monitoring is now provided by 1,436 stations across 338 cities, while pollution alert systems are operational in many of the country’s most-polluted areas, including Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, and traffic and trade hubs along the Yangtze and Pearl river deltas, he said.

Last year alone, authorities monitored almost 14,000 state-owned factories in an attempt to prevent the discharge of illegal waste, while drones were used to identify violations at 19 major industrial parks in north China, he said.

China’s environmental agencies have been monitoring air quality in 74 major cities since the beginning of 2013. Their findings are released to the public on a monthly basis.


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