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Guangdong addresses dusty weather problem
By Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-11-10 22:13

Guangdong Province is expected to introduce a floating dust warning system to help tackle worsening air pollution.

Meteorological departments in the province have established observation stations in Guangzhou's Panyu District, as well as the cities of Zhongshan, Dongguan and Foshan in the prosperous Pearl River Delta.

"The move aims to further monitor the province's dusty weather and help collect more first-hand material for future introduction of the new warning system," said Wu Dui, a researcher from the Guangzhou Research Institute of Tropical Oceanic Meteorology.

"If everything goes smoothly, the new warning system will be introduced in two years," he said yesterday.

Guangdong would then become the first region in the country to introduce such a system, Wu added.

In addition to the province's communications departments, the system could also benefit drivers, sailors, school children and tourists.

Guangdong has traditionally issued warnings when typhoons, storms, or severe cold hit the province.

All the disaster warning systems have helped local government departments, companies and residents take precautions.

Guangzhou, the provincial capital, and other major cities in the Pearl River Delta, have been hit by more dusty weather this year.

In the latest episode, dusty and hazy weather has plagued Guangzhou since mid-October, more than 20 days.

The number of days marked by dust clouds in the city hit 125 in the first 10 months this year, compared with only 85 days in 2002 and 98 last year.

Last week, dust cut down visibility on the ground to less than 2 kilometres.

Other major cities, including Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Dongguan, Foshan and Zhongshan have also seen more dusty days this year.

Wu said severe drought may have contributed to the dusty weather.

He called on cities to work together to fight the worsening air pollution.

A single city's efforts have little effect in fighting dust foggy weather in the whole region, Wu said.

An official from the Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Environmental Protection said contact has been established with Hong Kong and Macao counterparts to look for strategies to curb pollution.

He said the quickly growing number of vehicles were one driver behind the worsening air quality in the province and a culprit behind the dusty weather.

Vehicle exhaust fumes contain poisonous nitride and oxide while the region's cement and ceramics factories and thermal power plants discharge carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and dust.

At the same time, the many skyscrapers prevent gases from dispersing.

To help prevent the air pollution from worsening, Guangdong Province is considering implementing the Europe III standard for vehicle emissions in 2005.

And starting September, all the province's vehicles are required to meet the Europe II standard.

Meanwhile, more pollution-causing enterprises will be shut down or moved in the coming new year.

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