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Opinion\Op-Ed Contributors

Tackling the heavy air pollution problem

China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-13 07:19

Take targeted measures

Hu Jingnan and Gong Zhengyu:

China's fight against air pollution should not only be aimed at improving the air quality through effective but long-term measures; it should also include emergency measures to reduce toxic emissions even under extremely adverse weather conditions.

Since the State Council, China's Cabinet, promulgated 10 measures to prevent and address air pollution in 2013, the country has taken some effective actions to adjust its energy mix and industrial structure, reduce emissions of pollutants from industries and vehicles, and divert the flow of drifting dust from urban areas. Besides, a monitoring, early-warning and emergency response system for heavy air pollution has also been established.

Comprehensive studies indicate that since the promulgation of the State Council's 10 measures, some key cities have achieved notable results in their efforts to reduce the density of such primary pollutants as sulfur dioxide, NOx (nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide and nitrous oxide) and other particulates. But the concentration of secondary pollutants such as nitrates, sulfates and ammonium salt in the air has declined at a slower pace, undercutting the efforts to reduce air pollution in recent years.

Hence, to take targeted preventive measures to curb air pollution, especially PM2.5, China should conduct a thorough study on the features and formation of secondary pollutants in different regions.

A lot of work has been done in building the air-quality monitoring network and the early-warning system for heavy pollution. According to the requirement of the new environment and air quality standard (GB3095-2012), the national air-quality monitoring network had been established by the end of 2015, with 1,436 national air-quality monitoring stations in 338 cities at or above the prefecture level publishing real-time monitoring data.

And unified early-warning grading standards for heavy pollution have been introduced to the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, helping the three regions to take targeted emergency measures to solve their respective pollution-related problems, which was evident last year.

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