This week I wrote about how China is Imploding under a pollution haze of it's own making. Now today comes the news that China is combating air pollution with tough monitoring rules..
Chinese authorities have set tougher rules to combat air pollution by ordering all major cities to monitor tiny particles that do serious damage to health. One of China's leading environmental activists, Ma Jun, greeted the change as a major step forward.This is not a green wash gesture. The new ruling comes with strict adherence policies.
Surprisingly, given China's strict control of the internet, state media have acknowledged the change is partly in response to online environmental campaigners.
They order stricter air pollution monitoring standards this year in the mega-cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Tianjin, 27 provincial capitals, and three key industrial belts: the Yangtze and Pearl river deltas, and Beijing's hinterland. Another 113 cities must adopt new standards next year, and all but the smallest cities by 2015.China has vowed to speed up the eradication of major polluting industrial plants and replace them with clean energy sources, including wind, solar and biomass.
To "help allay public concern over official air quality readings", levels of ozone and PM2.5 particles must be included. PM2.5 particulate matter is below 2.5 micrometres in diameter, or 1/30th the width of an average human hair, and easily penetrates lung tissue.
"Clean energy is a long-term solution for solving the environmental problems faced by the country, but the high cost means it takes time," said Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University.This is not just good news for the Chinese people but it is good news for us also. We all share the same air on this planet .For the Chinese to make such a major commitment to cleaning up their atmosphere means that they will have to clean up some areas with the highest greenhouse gas emissions such as coal plants and agriculture. These are the kind of actions that are needed to reduce emissions that contribute to climate change.
From Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs: "It doesn't mean that the sky will turn blue automatically because at the end of the day we still need to cut off these emissions.". Yes, there is indeed a long, long way to go but actions like this will help.