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Pollution from auto exhaust continues to rise

By Wen Ya (Global Times)

09:22, December 21, 2011

A report released by the Ministry of Environment Protection on Monday shows that vehicles in China produced nearly 600,000 tons of PM (particulate matter) last year.

Though the sum is low compared to pollutants by factories, the PM of motor vehicles was produced in urban areas with dense population, according to Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs in Beijing.

"Among the PM, PM 2.5, air particles with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less, could cause haze and can penetrate the lungs or even enter the blood stream, causing lung cancer and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases," Ma told the Global Times.

With the booming automobile industry in China, pollution by motor vehicles has become one of the most serious problems.

China was the biggest producer and seller of automobiles in 2009 and 2010 in the world, said the report.

From 2006 to 2010, the number of vehicles in China increased rapidly from 118 million to 190 million, with a 10 percent annual growth rate. Cars rose by 150 percent from 30.88 million to 77.21 million, according to the report released on the ministry's website.

The number of vehicles bearing yellow labels, for causing high pollution, account for 20 percent of the total.

The MEP should adopt the European standard to reduce the emitted pollutants, according to Feng Yongfeng, one of the founders of Green Beagle, an environmental protection non-government organization in Beijing.

"We should encourage more people to take public transport, enlarge walkways and cycle lanes, and restrict the use of private cars," Feng told the Global Times yesterday.

The best way, yet the most challenging one, is to slow down the progress of urbanization, reducing the size of cities, said Ma.

"If the size of cities is too large, public transport is difficult to access and people have to use private cars," Ma told the Global Times.

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