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March 24, 2015

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Home » District » Minhang

All-out battle against the smog nemesis

Minhang’s air quality was poorer than the Shanghai average last year, but district environmental authorities are promising improvement this year.

According to the Minhang District Environmental Monitoring Center, the district experienced 91 days of pollution in 2014, ranging from 64 days clocked as “slight” up to 10 days registered as “severe.”

The average density of the inhalable particle PM2.5 was 57 micrograms per cubic meter, which was 9.6 percent higher than the city’s average, said the center.

Still, Minhang’s air quality ranked above that of neighboring suburban districts such as Songjiang, Qingpu, Jiading and Jinshan.

Main causes

“The main causes of pollution are industrial and traffic emissions, coal consumption and pollution coming from outside the city,” said Shao Huangjian, director of the center.

Minhang is hardly alone in grappling with air pollution. Choking air is a major public health problem throughout China. Several large cities, including Beijing, have limited new vehicle licensing in a bid to alleviate smog generated from cars. The national government has made air quality a top priority issue.

For Minhang, geography is a key factor in smog. Shao said pollution is more likely in southwestern areas of Shanghai, like Minhang, than in eastern areas where coastal winds prevail. Northwesterlies in winters carry pollution down from northern parts of China, making that the worst season for foul air, he said.

Many people point to smokestack industries as the chief culprits in pollution, but data don’t tend to confirm that view. “According to our data, the 13 towns in Minhang that have major industrial zones had about the same air quality as areas with little industry,” said Shao.

Minhang didn’t start monitoring PM2.5 particulates in the air until last year. Shao said comparative data are helpful.

For example, on Chinese New Year’s Eve last year, the density of PM2.5 reached 248 micrograms per cubic meter. This year on the same holiday, the reading dropped to 95. Stricter controls over neighborhood fireworks have been cited as a main reason.

Continuing measures

The center said the district will continue to implement anti-pollution measures this year. Enterprises with high noxious gas emissions will be shut down, and more offending boilers will be put out of operation. Vehicles with high exhaust emissions will be taken off the roads, and restaurants will come under stricter controls on cooking oil fumes.

The Minhang District Environment Protection Bureau said Shanghai has set a goal of reducing PM2.5 density by 20 percent by 2017, compared with 2013. Minhang will be no exception.

“The goal will be reached by adopting more clean energy sources and adjusting the industrial structure,” said Han Xiaofei, deputy director of the bureau. “We have a three-year plan to achieve the city target.”


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