After years of increasing public demand, the Chinese government is to release pollution data in 74 cities. Malcolm Moore at Telegraph reports:
[…T]he Chinese state media said on Sunday that 496 monitoring stations would release data in real time on six types of pollutants, including sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and on PM2.5, particles that are so small they can only be detected by an electron microscope, but which can cause respiratory and heart disease.
[…] The pollution data will be available on the internet and through smartphone apps, said the Ministry of Environmental Pollution. There will also be daily readings on television and radio bulletins.
[…] The release of the official data will leave local governments less room to manipulate their statistics and hide the country’s worsening pollution problem.
It will also hamper other local governments from exaggerating how bad their air is in order to win pollution treatment funding from Beijing.
Read more on China Digital Times
I was in Zhengzhou, Henan in January 2013 and there has been extensive episodes of smog, much like in many other cities including Beijing.
The bad news is that pollution is getting more and more acute in urban regions in China. The good news is that these visual pollution events will help increasing the environmental awareness of the Chinese population.
As for the release of pollution data, they will remain meaningless as long as there is no push for educating the population about the effect of these pollutants on human health and on the environment.