FUZHOU, March 19 -- China's Fujian province on Wednesday began releasing the first ever "fresh air index" to promote eco-tourism, in sharp contrast to air quality indexes which often cause pollution scare.
Compared to existing air quality indexes released by environmental departments which focus on urban air quality, fresh air indexes focus on changes at a single tourist attraction, said Chen Yihui, deputy chief of the provincial tourism bureau, at a press conference on Wednesday.
"Our goal is to have PM2.5 and healthy air measurements speak for themselves to boost eco-tourism," said Chen.
On March 10, China's State Council, the cabinet, approved Fujian to spearhead the country's ecological construction.
Zhu Hua, director of the provincial tourism bureau, said that the indexes apply to 50 local eco-tourism attractions.
Tourists can track updates on the provincial tourism bureau's website, www.fjta.gov.cn, through microblogs, WeChat, fujian.people.com.cn, fj.sina.com.cn or fj.qq.com.
Based on the province's data, Yongtai Yunding Mountain in Fuzhou City and Da'anyuan scenic spot in Mount Wuyi registered 100,000 and 80,000 negative oxygen ions per square centimeter respectively. Negative oxygen ion readings show how healthy the air is.
These figures far exceeded the World Health Organization standard for fresh air, which ranges from 1,000 to 1,500 per square centimeter.
At Yuhua Karst Cave in Jiangle County, the PM 2.5 reading, which measures airborne particles smaller than 2.5 micrometer, was one or close to zero.
Under China's air quality standards, anything up to 75 micrograms per cubic meter is deemed safe for a PM 2.5 reading.