Increased air quality standards to benefit lab equipment firms
Updated: 2011-12-06 07:58
By Gao Changxin (China Daily)
SHANGHAI - A recent revamp of the regulations concerning air pollution in China, in particular the decision to monitor levels of ultra-fine particles known as particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5), is opening a new growth area for manufacturers of laboratory equipment.
One of the biggest beneficiaries could be Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc, the world's largest manufacturer of scientific instruments by revenue.
The US-based company is already deeply entrenched in the nation's market for equipment to monitor pollution levels. Zhou Xiaobin, the commercial director of Thermo's environmental and processing instrument division in China, expects the company to increase its market share following the introduction of the new regulations.
"Thermo has long been a major supplier of PM2.5 monitoring equipment in developed markets. We expect strong demand for our equipment from China as the air-monitoring stations add new equipment to monitor the levels of PM2.5," said Zhou.
PM2.5 consists of particles measuring 2.5 microns - one-fourth the size of the average human cell.
China has more than 2,000 air monitoring stations, and Zhou said each of these will add at least one PM2.5 monitor, which costs around 300,000 yuan ($47,000), by 2016, when the revised standards for air quality are expected to take effect nationwide.
High levels of PM2.5 are linked to lung disease, heart attacks and atmospheric haze. It will be added to a list of air-quality indicators in an upcoming revision of national standards.
The Xinhua News Agency has said that these ultra-fine particles account for more than half the weight of industrial dust in the air of northern China. The particle's absence from the national air-pollution index has highlighted the discrepancy between reports of "blue sky" conditions and the reality of haze and murky skies.
Since Sunday, the skies of North China have been shrouded in heavy fog, with visibility reduced to less than 200 meters in some regions.
While independent measurements in Beijing have rated the capital's air quality as "heavily polluted", citing an extremely high level of PM2.5, Beijing's municipal environmental protection bureau categorized the air as only "mildly" polluted.
Zhou said sales of PM2.5 monitoring equipment have already gained momentum in China, as laboratories and research institutions have been increasingly studying air pollution. Currently all the monitoring equipment sold in China is imported but the company will consider starting local manufacturing if demand picks up, Zhou said.
Zhou said he expects China to adopt more environmental-monitoring standards, including those for radioactive substances, carbon monoxide and mercury, and the company's growth will be based on the "Chinese government's increasing focus on environmental protection".
(China Daily 12/06/2011 page17)