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Pearl River Delta to tackle air pollution, seeks improvement by 2017

Posted: 02/17/2014 9:08 am

It’s taken some time, but it looks like Guangdong wants to get serious about air pollution. The Pearl River Delta region plans to improve its air quality by reducing its annual PM 2.5 concentration by 15% by the end of 2017, local Chinese newspaper Southern Daily has reported.

The announcement came from the Guangdong government after it formulated a detailed resolution to combat air pollution from 2014 to 2017. The province aims to cut the region’s PM 2.5 concentration from 2012’s 42 micrograms per cubic meter to 35.7 micrograms in 2017, closer to the national air quality standard of 35 micrograms, the report said.

PM 2.5 are toxic particles small enough to enter lungs and pollute a person’s blood streams, causing cardiovascular ailments, respiratory disease and lung cancer. Compared with air pollution in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and the Yangtze River Delta, the PRD’s PM 2.5 readings are slightly better, Wu Dui, an air quality researcher with the China Meteorological Administration, was quoted as saying in the report. But that doesn’t mean overall pollution still isn’t a problem.

The report came only three days after the country’s State Council decided to offer a total of RMB10 billion ($1.65 billion) in financial incentives to reward cities and regions that make progress in air pollution control.

According to the Guangdong Meteorological Bureau, the province had an average of 43 smog days last year, one fewer day than in 2012. Guangzhou also had an average of 51 smog days in 2013, 20 days fewer than the year previous, China News reported on January 2.

Taoyuan in Jiangmen, Guangdong recorded a spike of PM 2.5 reading on January 5, which reached 257, according to statistics released by the Guangdong Environmental Protection Bureau earlier.

PM 2.5 measuring between 201 and 300 is considered “very unhealthy” by US standards. China’s air pollution causes premature deaths between 350,000 and 500,000 each year, according to China’s former health minister Chen Zhu.

Home page photo from Yangcheng Evening News 

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