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"Frequent hazy days" listed among top environment news in 2011

(Xinhua)

08:39, January 18, 2012

BEIJING, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- "Frequent hazy days triggering public concern" was listed among the top ten environmental news items for 2011 by China Environment News, a newspaper run by the environment ministry.

The lists, one for domestic news and the other for world news in the environmental arena, were unveiled by the newspaper on Tuesday.

The newspaper said smoggy days shrouded the skylines of Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Jinan and many other Chinese cities during October and November 2011, which heated up public discussion on air quality measuring standards.

The incident was magnified as the U.S. Embassy in Beijing rated the air as "hazardous," whereas the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said the pollution was "slight."

It was later discovered that the discrepancy resulted from different air pollution measurement standards adopted by the two countries.

On Nov. 17, the Ministry of Environmental Protection began soliciting public feedback on the draft of the revised Environmental Air Quality Standards, which includes the measurement of PM2.5, finer microscopic airborne particles, and ozone density.

The new standards are expected to be fully implemented in 2016.

Other top news items include U.S. company ConocoPhillips' oil spill at Bohai Bay, Japan's earthquake and ensuing nuclear leak crisis, and the Horn of Africa suffering a drought rarely seen in 60 years, among others.

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