By Benjamin Cost
Shanghai has pledged to join its fellow Chinese cities in raising city-wide air-quality measuring standards to the level of countries like the U.S. and Japan. Looks like all those damning pollution pieces, including a recent Nasa satellite image of China’s smog, finally struck a nerve!
Shanghai Daily has the scoop:
The new standard requires the air-quality watchdog to monitor airborne PM2.5 particles, meaning those measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter, and publish the findings. The practice requires finer technology and monitoring facilities.
Whether or not it leads to a feasible pollution solution, the new methods will reveal infinitely more than the current standard, which only measures PM10 particles (particles measuring less than 10 micrometers in diameter) and has resulted in inaccurate reports regarding pollution levels.
In fact, according to the PM10 scale, Beijing’s recent pollution levels, deemed “hazardous” by the PM2.5 standard, are relatively mild, akin to an unusually foggy day rather than the more fitting smog-pocalypse.
The new standard will also prove essential on a micro level, as the currently unmonitored PM2.5 particles pose dire health risks, including long-term respiratory and circulatory conditions and even premature deaths.
Nonetheless, we remain skeptical of this apparent godsend, for while the PM2.5 standard may be impartial, the city authorities who will utilize it have a reputation for sugar-coating the facts.
For a list of air quality tracking tools, click here.