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Air quality: a matter of location (2)

(Global Times)

16:24, February 02, 2012

"The US embassy only has one monitoring station, which is in downtown Beijing, and they claim the data is for their own use only, not for public reference," Du Shaozhong, the EPB's deputy head told the Global Times.

The bureau has 27 monitoring stations citywide, and their results can reflect a city's average air quality in a scientific way, he said.

Du said in a Beijing Evening News report in November last year that the EPB is willing to compare their monitoring methods, equipment and standards with the US embassy's but the embassy refused them several times.

However, Buangan said "The US embassy's previous offer to collaborate with Beijing EPB on monitoring and data sharing still stands."

Du made no comment on this yesterday, and said he will not speak to media about Beijing's air quality anymore, without further explanation.

"We shouldn't set official data against non-governmental monitoring results as they use different methods and equipment," said Feng Yongfeng, founder of Beijing-based environmental watchdog Green Beagle.

While the official way is to get an average result, non-governmental monitoring takes a closer approach to residents' lives and surroundings, which residents care about more, he said.

"I believe the US embassy's data is true about the condition in the station's surrounding area. Civil monitoring can be a good complement to the official data," he remarked.

To get more detailed and real-time information about air quality, Feng suggested a monitoring center for each residential community, with technological support from the government, so that residents can know about the air condition near them.

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