Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Monitoring Air Pollution in Beijing, China

Beijing to put clean-air plan into action (He Dan, China Daily, Jan. 13, 2012)

Also discussed here: Beijing releases key air pollution data (USA Today, Jan. 21, 2012)

And here: Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center (in Chinese)

And here: Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center (in English)

Today, the focus is on efforts by the municipal government in Beijing to both monitor and reduce local pollution sources, among which vehicle emissions are a major contributor like many other urban areas. Beijing is a large city both in terms of population (19,612,368 in 2010) and area (16,801 km2) so that the 24 monitors to monitor PM10 and PM2.5 in future are about the same ratio one sees in Canada and the USA. Even this is far from the monitor density needed to adequately estimate roadside emissions as, for example, in the UK where over 200 local authorities have declared over 500 Air Quality Management Areas(AQMA). Also noteworthy is the pledge to make public hourly air pollution in real time- another indication of the seriousness taken of air pollution by governmental officials.

Key Quotes:

“The municipal government will allocate 2.1 billion yuan ($332.4 million) to tackle air pollution and other work related to energy conservation and emissions reduction”

“When severe smog grounded more than 100 flights on Tuesday, the highest density of inhalable particles in the southern and central city was between 300 and 560 micrograms a cubic meter, while the figure in the north was between 30 and 80”

"Whenever you walk on the streets in Beijing, you can see cars emitting dark gas and a strong smell. Cars are responsible for about 50 percent of the harmful particles in the air,"

“Beijing will set up more than two dozen monitoring stations to detect the density of PM 2.5 before Spring Festival, which falls on Jan 23. That will be ahead of the national schedule of 2016”

“The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center will publish readings for the levels of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and PM 10 - particulate matter smaller than 10 micrograms - detected by its 27 air quality monitoring stations.”

“The center’s staff will post air-quality data 24 hours a day on its official website,, based on results from 27 monitoring stations in the city..The data will mainly cover the density of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and PM10 (particulate matter under 10 macrometers in size) in the air”

“Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center participated in the project of Capability Building of Olympic Environmental Monitoring cooperated by Beijing Municipality and the Italian Ministry for the Environment and Territory.…was founded in 1974, it is the first professional environmental monitoring institution in China”
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