August 3, 2008 / 3:11 PM / 11 years ago

China likely to broaden anti-pollution monitoring

BEIJING (Reuters) - China is likely to introduce new pollution monitoring measures in 2009 and learn from action taken during the Olympics to try and ensure Beijing does not sink back into smog, officials said on Sunday.

A clearer sky is visible above the skyline along the central business district of Beijing August 1, 2008. REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV

Fan Yuansheng, director general of the department of pollution control at the Environmental Protection Ministry, said China would also probably carry on keeping some government vehicles off Beijing’s roads after the Games.

Beijing residents enjoyed a rare weekend of bright blue skies thanks to controls on cars and factories and a little help from favorable weather.

China currently monitors sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of 10 micrometers or less, known as PM 10, but the measures do not cover finer particles called PM 2.5.

“Personally I think we will start formal monitoring (of ozone and PM 2.5) from next year,” said Fan.

The PM 2.5 particles may damage the lungs and may also be able to seep into the bloodstream, while high ozone levels can trigger asthma and other breathing problems in young and old.

“We cannot keep up some of the temporary measures up after the Olympic Games, but they will provide experience for future measures,” said Fan.

Some of the steps taken for the Games could help the capital breathe freer in the long-term, he said.

Beijing has instituted stringent regulations to get half its 3.3 million cars off the roads to try and help cut pollution during the Olympics.

Quarries, steel mills and factories in provinces round Beijing have also been ordered to shut if they do not meet pollution control standards.

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