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People's Daily Online>>China Society

China rethinks air quality standards

(China Youth Daily)

16:40, November 17, 2011

The photo shows the air pollution of China. (Xinhua)

Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online

Beijing, Nov.17 (People's Daily Online) --The air quality in Chinese cities is relatively poor, and there is a considerable gap between China's air quality standards, which do not measure harmful PM2.5 particles, and the air quality guidelines set by the World Health Organization, said Zhang Lijun, the country’s vice minister of environmental protection.

As the country's air quality assessment system is not perfect, and many Chinese cities that reach minimum standards actually suffer from poor air quality.

China has kept the measurements of PM2.5 — particles 2.5 microns in diameter or less — out of its air quality assessment standard for a long time. That's why most Chinese people feel that air pollution is more severe than government data shows.

Hao Jiming, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a professor at Tsinghua University, said that China's current air quality standards were introduced in 1982 and underwent certain revisions in 1996 and 2000. Many experts have suggested that the air quality standards should be revised again to include PM2.5.

Hao said that the concentration of PM2.5 in most Chinese cities is higher than the safe levels in the WHO's air quality guidelines. For the sake of public health, the Chinese government should expand its air monitoring scope as soon as possible.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Environmental Protection has announced the "Ambient Air Quality PM10 and PM2.5 Weight Measurement Law," the country's first set of national standards for measuring PM2.5. Experts believe that this law has laid a sound foundation for the inclusion of PM2.5 readings in China's air quality standards.

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