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Weather must be taken into account when fighting pollution, expert says

By Li Hongyang | | Updated: 2020-05-26 11:18
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Local governments should take meteorological factors into account when making decisions about where and when to reduce industrial gas emissions, Zhang Xingying, a meteorologist with the China Meteorological Administration said on Sunday.

He suggested this move against the backdrop that last year air pollution had declined consistently across the country and it's increasingly difficult to cut the emissions further, which demands further measures to be done in a more scientific method.

Zhang, also member of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, proposed during the ongoing two sessions that the country needs to set up monitoring spots in major cities to collect meteorological data at certain places and certain times to help calculate the air's self-cleaning capacity.

"By definition, the capacity measures the maximum pollutant that the atmospheric environment of an area can clean up in a year. Due to constantly changing meteorological factors and climate characteristics, the capacity varies at different times," he said.

The monitoring spots will be designed to monitor weather data and calculate it to get the self-cleaning capacity.

"Essentially, atmospheric conditions in areas with richer natural endowments and fewer accumulated damaging human activities tend to have greater self-cleaning capacity and better diffusion condition for pollutants than vice versa," he said.

So he suggested that new plants should be built where the air self-cleaning capacity is greater instead of choosing sites merely based on population density.

He noted that most of the time, officials from local governments just focus on reducing polluting industries regardless of the air self-cleaning capacity in their regions.

"Some areas with better capacity that can contain more emissions have been excessively controlled over productivity, which caused financial loss and a waste of natural resources."

"And in areas with poorer air capacity that cannot accommodate large amounts of emissions, you can find even when all the plants are shut down and fewer vehicles are allowed on roads, severe air pollution may also occur," he said.

He added that when it comes to reducing emissions, it should not only depend on the total amount of pollutants, but also the atmospheric environment, to scientifically layout the industry and production capacity.

According to a paper by two lecturers with the Nanjing University of Information Science and technology, published in Yuejiang Academic Journal in 2018, eastern and southern China, including the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang, Anhui and Jiangsu and Shanghai municipality, had better atmospheric environment and greater self-cleaning capacity. Part of northern and western China, including the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan and Hebei, and Beijing municipality, did not.

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