Tech needed to im­prove air

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHAO LEI and ZHENG XIN

Leg­is­la­tors and po­lit­i­cal ad­vis­ers have called for ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies to be used in help­ing China bat­tle air pol­lu­tion, with the na­tion soon due to test a cut­ting-edge drone de­signed to clear smog.

“Sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy play a very sig­nif­i­cant role in cut­ting down pol­lu­tants,” said Wang Xiangchao, a re­searcher at the Shang­hai In­sti­tute of Op­tics and Fine Me­chan­ics un­der the Chi­nese Academy of Sci­ences.

Wang is also a mem­ber of the Chi­nese People’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence Na­tional Com­mit­tee, the na­tion’s top po­lit­i­cal ad­vi­sory body.

“Once the source of pol­lu­tants is de­ter­mined, we can re­sort to ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy, which can ef­fec­tively help pre­vent or re­duce the haz­ards im­posed by smog.”

Wang called for his fel­low sci­en­tists to in­vent more eco­nom­i­cal and ef­fec­tive air pu­ri­fiers.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang have re­it­er­ated their con­cerns over the en­vi­ron­ment and air pol­lu­tion in their dis­cus­sions with deputies to the Na­tional People’s Congress, China’s top leg­is­la­ture.

Talk­ing to deputies from Guang­dong prov­ince and Shang­hai on Thurs­day, Xi in­quired about the read­ings for PM2.5 in the two ar­eas, urg­ing lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to make the air cleaner.

PM2.5 is par­tic­u­late mat­ter in the air smaller than 2.5 mi­cro-me­ters that is be­lieved to be most haz­ardous to health.

Li told deputies from Shan­dong prov­ince that the PM2.5 prob­lem must be han­dled with strong mea­sures and asked that highly pol­lut­ing ve­hi­cles be banned.

In his Govern­ment Work Re­port de­liv­ered on Wed­nes­day, Li said that the govern­ment will “de­clare war” on pol­lu­tion.

The top lead­ers’ re­marks come as Chi­nese avi­a­tion de­sign­ers pre­pare for the test flight of the SYW-1 drone to see if it can clear smog.

The un­manned aerial ve­hi­cle, with a glide para­chute, has been de­vel­oped and man­u­fac­tured by AVIC Aero­space, a sub­sidiary of the Avi­a­tion In­dus­try Corp of China.

It will carry out its first smog dis­per­sal test at air­ports or ports in Ningbo, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, said Ma Yong­sheng, a deputy to the NPC and chair­man of AVIC Aero­space.

Ma said on the side­lines of the NPC that the drone is easy to con­trol and main­tain. It has car­ried out more than 100 hours of test flights and will spray chem­i­cals that freeze pol­lu­tants, mak­ing them to fall to the ground.

The new drone is 90 per­cent cheaper to op­er­ate than the fixed­wing air­craft that have been used to dis­perse smog for sev­eral years.

The drone can carry 80 kg of smog-dis­pers­ing chem­i­cals and can re­main air­borne for three hours, AVIC Aero­space says. A fu­ture model will be able to carry 700 kg of chem­i­cals.

It can also be used for agri­cul­tural seed­ing, dis­as­ter re­lief and aerial map­ping.

Cao Xianghong, a CPPCC mem­ber and di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Petroleum Prod­ucts and Lu­bri­cants Stan­dard­iza­tion Tech­ni­cal Com­mit­tee, said ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy can help to re­duce the sul­fur and ni­tro­gen con­tent in coal.

China is learn­ing about and in­tro­duc­ing tech­nolo­gies from over­seas to help im­prove air qual­ity, he said.

Of­fi­cials in Bei­jing are con­sid­er­ing mea­sures to ease air pol­lu­tion, such as cre­at­ing ar­ti­fi­cial rain by cloud seed­ing.

Ar­ti­fi­cial rain­fall is a proven way to dis­perse air pol­lu­tants to im­prove air qual­ity in the short term, said Wu Zhi­hui, deputy head of He­bei Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Bureau’s weather mod­i­fi­ca­tion of­fice.

“We used cloud-seed­ing rock­ets to make rain­fall on Feb 26 to cut air pol­lu­tants in Shi­ji­azhuang more quickly,” he said, adding that the mea­sure re­duced the PM2.5 read­ing from an ex­ces­sively dan­ger­ous level of 500 to 145.

The prov­ince has used such meth­ods to con­trol air pol­lu­tion since the start of 2013.

How­ever, some en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists have ex­pressed con­cern over sec­ondary pol­lu­tion and warned that weather ma­nip­u­la­tion is not a long-term so­lu­tion to the over­all prob­lem.

Feng Yongfeng, founder of the Bei­jing en­vi­ron­men­tal non-gov­ern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tion Green Bea­gle, said the re­lease of chemical sub­stances for the ar­ti­fi­cial rain, in­clud­ing sil­ver io­dide, is highly likely to pol­lute soil and wa­ter.

Un­less there is no other op­tion, it is bet­ter not to ma­nip­u­late the weather to re­duce smog, but rather use the strat­egy as an emer­gency plan, he said. Con­tact the writ­ers at zhaolei@ chi­nadaily.com.cn and zhengxin@ chi­nadaily.com.cn Zhao Yinan in Bei­jing and Zheng Jinran in Shi­ji­azhuang

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