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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

China confident in improving environmental protection

By Zhong Sheng (People's Daily)

14:03, December 12, 2011

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

PM2.5, once a little-known scientific term, has become familiar to the Chinese people in recent months. It is not only a gauge of air pollution but also a parameter of a country's development level.

The United States started monitoring fine particle levels in the 1970s but did not include PM2.5 in its national air quality standards until 1997. The United States issued the new fine particle standards not because of the deteriorating environmental pollution but because of the growing importance the country has attached to environmental protection and improvements amid increasing industrialization. As the people had stricter requirements for quality of life and the environment, PM2.5 readings replaced PM10 readings.

At present, most countries that have included PM2.5 in their air quality rating are developed countries. Developing countries such as China still have a long way to go to catch up with developed countries.

The Chinese people's requirements for air quality were much looser a few years ago. Now, they are far more sensitive to particulate matter in the air, indicating that their environmental awareness has enhanced, and their requirements for air quality have become stricter. Social progress is bound to bring higher standards. China recently announced a new poverty line, which attracted worldwide attention.

China's development is a kind of great-leap-forward development but not a simple copy of developed countries' old road. China spent only 30 years in completing a process that took developed countries 100 years to complete. It was a miracle, and the miracle should include a great-leap-forward development of environmental protection.

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