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Beijing vows to slash PM2.5 pollution


09:04, February 09, 2012

BEIJING, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Beijing will roll out multiple measures to lower the city's readings of PM2.5, which stands for fine particulate matter in the air, by nearly 30 percent by 2020, according to an air pollution abatement plan made by the municipal government.

The plan aims to reduce the PM2.5 reading on average a year in the national capital from the current 70 micrograms per cubic meter of air to 50 micrograms by 2020, according to a report published Wednesday in the Beijing Daily, the mouthpiece of the city's committee of the Communist Party of China.

However, the capital's ambition is likely to be dwarfed by the upcoming national standard for PM2.5 rating. Although the national standard has yet to be released, public hearings by the country's environmental ministry last month suggested the future national PM2.5 standard may be set at 35 micrograms per cubic meter of air on average a year.

The PM2.5 gauge is stricter than Beijing's previous standard of PM10, as it monitors "fine" particles 2.5 microns or less in diameter.

A fierce online public outcry over the measurements began at the end of 2011 when it came to light that air-quality monitoring results released by Beijing's weather forecast station and the U.S. Embassy in Beijing often widely differed.

Influenced by the public outcry, Beijing environmental authorities launched the PM2.5 measure of air quality in late January and soon released the monitoring data.

Monitoring results show that PM2.5 particles in Beijing's air are mainly caused by coal burning, automobile exhaust and dust generated at construction sites.

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