Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center opens to Shanghai Daily readers

Twenty Shanghai Daily readers paid a visit to Shanghai's Environmental Monitoring Center and communicated with environment experts.

Edited by Tang Dafei and Zhong Youyang

How is the air quality in Shanghai and the Yangtze River Delta region monitored and forecast? How are pollutants like PM2.5's tiny particles analyzed? These questions raised by Shanghai Daily readers were addressed when they paid a visit to Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center.

Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center (SEMC) is responsible for a lot, including the monitoring of Shanghai's environmental quality, as well as its emission sources, water, atmosphere, ecological and biological environments, and more.

On top of all that, SEMC also acts as a Network Center, technology center, information center and training center for the city’s environmental monitoring department.

During the visit, readers were first taken to the history hall where old environment analyzing machines were being exhibited. They were then shown around the center’s analysis laboratories, which include a lab specifically for volatile organic compounds in water.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Readers look at an aged environment analyzing machine.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Readers talk with experts at the analysis laboratories.

It was also the first time for the monitoring center’s Yangtze River Delta Regional Air Quality Forecast Center to open to the public.

Following the presentation by staff of the center, readers were invited to ask questions. Air quality monitoring and forecasting was among the most popular topics brought up by Shanghai Daily readers.

Shanghai started its 72-hour air quality forecasts in June — an improved service replacing the previous 48-hour forecasts. The new forecast issues both the air quality index (AQI) and major air pollutants and is released around 5pm daily. 

According to Wang Qian, vice director of the center’s atmospheric environment monitoring office, ozone has become the second major air pollutant for Shanghai after PM2.5.

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Yangtze River Delta Regional Air Quality Forecast Center

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Shanghai Daily readers take a group photo at the end of the visit.

Ozone O3 pollution is frequently reported in summer. According to the center, 12 out of the 45 days from July 1 to August 14 were reported to be moderately or heavily polluted, with ozone being the major pollutant.

Ozone pollution is created near the Earth’s surface by ultra violet rays, and therefore occurs more often in summer.

Pollutants of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxide resulting in part from manufacturing processes can cause an excess amount of ozone, which can harm lung functions and irritate the respiratory system.

According to the 2016 Shanghai Environmental Bulletin, the average concentration of ozone monitored daily in the eight peak hours of a day last year reached 164 micrograms per cubic meter, a 1.9 percent increase on 2015.

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