The newly revised Ambient Air Quality Standard was released before the opening of the annual session of NPC and CPPCC in March, which includes PM2.5 in routine monitoring items. In the Work Report at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 11th National People’s Congress, Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council pointed out that key regions such as Beijing-Tinajin-Hebei, Yangtze River delta and Pearl River delta, municipalities under the State Council and all provincial capital cities begin monitoring of new major air pollution indicators including PM2.5 this year, it is planned that such environment monitoring will cover all cities at or above prefecture level in 2015. There are less than four years from now to the end of 2015, how will we achieve this objective? A journalist had a special interview on this issue with Mr. Wu Xiaoqing, CPPCC Member, Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of China Democratic National Construction Association and MEP Vice Minister.
"Considering the air pollution characteristics, economic development level and environmental management requirements of different regions of our country, we are going to meet the target in different time lines." Wu Xiaoqing said: "However, implementation in different stages does not mean waiting, instead, we will make early plan and environmental protection department will do lots of preparation activities."
What kinds of challenges confront PM2.5 monitoring?
To do well preparation work, we must have definite goal. What kinds of challenges will we face during the promotion of monitoring PM2.5 with the implementation of the new standard?
Wu Xiaoqing said: "First, as a basic public service environmental monitoring capacity still cannot meet public demand. At present, all cities at or above prefecture levels in our country have the capacity in monitoring coal smoke pollution, that is, the three original indicators of SO2, NO2 and inhalable particulates. The new standard stipulates that PM2.5 as a new indicator will be monitored across the country. Objectively, local capacity in monitoring ambient air quality lags behind the requirements of the new standard to some extent. "
"Second, it is expected that meeting-the-standard-rate of urban ambient air quality will have significant decrease soon after the implementation of the new standard. The strictness of the new standard is reflected in at least the following two aspects: 1) stricter limits for original air pollution indicators such as NO2 and inhalable particulates; 2) adding new monitoring indicators such as PM2.5, ozone and CO. It is estimated that the meet-the-standard rate of urban air quality of cities at or above prefecture levels in our country will significantly decrease after the implementation of the new standard."
Wu Xiaoqing noted that improvement of ambient air quality is a long-term and hard process. PM2.5 and ozone become an important factor affecting ambient air quality of our country. However, the work on pollution control and meeting air quality cannot be finished in a short period and will need long-term unremitting efforts due to the limit and constraints of current economic and social development stage. Therefore, it is expected that the phenomenon of failing to meet national ambient air quality standard will last for a considerable period of time.
What kind of preparations will be needed for monitoring PM2.5?
What kind of preparation work should we do for monitoring PM2.5? Wu Xiaoqing said: "The key is doing well basic work. Based on the requirements of the new standard, we will adjust and optimize ambient air quality monitoring sites and make appropriate layout of national ambient air quality monitoring network. We will develop relevant technical standards for new indicators and do well technical reserve activities such as equipment selection and personnel training. We will study and establish certification system for environment monitoring instruments in our country and ensure objective and fair monitoring data."
Wu Xiaoqing said, "the selection of the right type of PM2.5 monitoring equipment is very important." "MEPF firstly conducted trial monitoring of PM2.5 and ozone in the cities of Pearl River delta as early as 2006 and then in another 26 cities, which have provided foundation for the implementation of the new standard. During the trial monitoring, we find some differences of monitoring data by employing different types of monitoring equipment. Therefore, we are organizing the comparison experiment on PM2.5 monitoring equipment in order to guide the selection of appropriate type of monitoring equipment for the whole country."
Wu Xiaoqing said, "We will make more efforts in training, raise personnel quality and develop the capacity as soon as possible." "After the release of the new standard, MEP has developed detailed training plan to strengthen the training on the implementation of new ambient air quality standard and ensure accurate monitoring data with good explanations."
Wu Xiaoqing also said, the establishment of perfect quality management & control system, assessment system and release system is an important work. In terms of information release mechanism, we will ensure making public accurate real-time monitoring data on air quality in time, offer public access to information about the environment and better guide public trav
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