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Feature: Taking control of city air pollution (5)

By Tiffany Hoy (Xinhua)

20:42, February 25, 2013

"It's easier to handle all those small sources on a local scale than try to handle it on a state-wide scale," he added.

For larger industry emitters, including power stations and mining (mostly in rural areas), the state government is responsible. These companies are required to submit annual reports about their emissions, and their levels are added to the National Pollutant Inventory -- a record of 93 toxic substances and their sources and locations, available online.

Domestic households are also a direct contributor to air pollutants, mainly from using solvents (such as paints), and burning wood and coal for heating and cooking. In metropolitan Sydney, 93 percent of airborne particle pollution -- a brown haze - - comes from wood heaters. Community education has helped reduce these emissions.

Announcing a five-year plan to reduce air pollution to protect the environment starting in 2012 is a good start, says Bridgman. " Over the last twenty or thirty years, China has taken the approach that it needs to develop very rapidly in terms of its industries and transport systems. And, as in the past in places like Europe and the USA, that development has taken priority over the environment."

"The key thing now for China is to work out a way to balance their development needs and the need to protect and control air and water environments, so that pollution is reduced but development can go ahead -- at least in some kind of modified form. "

"I think that China is moving in the right direction, in trying to at least begin to reduce its air quality. And there are good reports coming out of China in being able to reduce air quality problems. We look for more positive reports in the future," Bridgman said.

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