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Binhai moves to improve air quality

By ZHAO YINAN and ZHANG MIN in Tianjin | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-15 00:14

Environmental authorities in Tianjin's Binhai New Area have stepped up their monitoring of exhaust emissions in a region known for petroleum refining as part of their efforts to improve regional air quality.

Liu Enlin, deputy director of the Binhai environmental protection bureau, a State-level development zone in Tianjin, said his office is working on a tailor-made air quality improvement plan that includes monitoring airborne pollutants in areas where heavy industries such as oil refineries are concentrated.

"We hope the data can help us assess whether these companies can potentially raise environmental risks and then work out a solution to improve them," he said.

Liu said the project assesses whether refineries lower air quality by recording the levels of PM 2.5 — particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter — and other fine pollutants that being discharged into the air.

Dense smog has often covered large parts of China since January. Beijing, Tianjin and neighboring Hebei province were among the most severely affected areas. The lingering haze has sparked calls from the public and governments to strictly curb regular emissions from pollution sources and reduce the level of fine particles.

Jouni Keranen, a Finnish engineer working at a Binhai-based company, said he has lived in Tianjin for five months. He said his life in the city is good, but he is a bit concerned about the air quality.

He said the government could do more on the issue.

Liu said Binhai has put a lot of effort into improving the environment and the ecology, such as hosting some high-tech industries that have less environmental impact. The area is also home to the Sino-Singaporean Tianjin Eco-City, the world's first eco-city project with international cooperation.

"Although there are some traditional industries such as oil refining and paper manufacturing in the area, they may not necessarily damage the environment, as long as they operate according to the standards," he said.

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