Air in Shang­hai im­proved in 2016

Los Angeles Times - - INTERNATIONAL DAILY - Ma Yue

SHANG­HAI had the clean­est air in six years last year, the en­vi­ron­men­tal au­thor­ity said re­cently.

The Shang­hai En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Bureau said the aver­age den­sity of Shang­hai’s ma­jor air pol­lu­tant tiny par­ti­cle PM2.5 was 45 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter in 2016 — a 15 per­cent de­crease from 53 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter in 2015.

It also meant that Shang­hai took only four years to com­plete its five-year plan of cut­ting PM2.5 den­sity 20 per­cent from 2013’s 62 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter.

“Shang­hai’s air qual­ity has been greatly im­proved in 2016,” said Zhou Jun, deputy di­rec­tor of the bureau’s pol­lu­tion con­trol divi­sion.

“Our next goal is to de­crease the aver­age den­sity of PM2.5 to 42 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter by 2020.”

Apart from PM2.5, the aver­age den­sity of other ma­jor air pol­lu­tants also saw a drop in the past year.

SO2 (sul­fur diox­ide), PM10 and NO2 (ni­tro­gen diox­ide) fell 11.8 per­cent, 14.5 per­cent and 6.5 per­cent re­spec­tively com­pared to the year be­fore.

Ac­cord­ing to Li Li, di­rec­tor of the Shang­hai Academy of En­vi­ron­men­tal Sci­ences At­mo­spheric En­vi­ron­ment In­sti­tute, the re­duc­tion in coal burn­ing con­trib­uted to the cut in SO2 and PM10.

“The main cause of SO2 and PM10 in Shang­hai was coal burn­ing,” said Li. “Cleaner en­ergy like nat­u­ral gas has been pro­moted in the city to re­place coal, while NO2 is pro­duced in oil burn­ing and car emis­sion.”

The air qual­ity in 75.4 per­cent days of 2016 was rated as ex­cel­lent or good — with an air qual­ity in­dex no higher than 100 — a 4.7 per­cent in­crease from 2015.

Ninety days were rated pol­luted, in­clud­ing 19 days of mod­er­ate pol­lu­tion (AQI be­tween 151-200) and two days heavy pol­lu­tion (201-300). In 2015, 107 days had been re­ported as pol­luted.

Apart from con­tin­u­ing with anti-air pol­lu­tion mea­sures, the en­vi­ron­ment au­thor­ity is mak­ing de­tailed plans to im­prove the city’s wa­ter qual­ity.

The en­vi­ron­ment bureau said there are about 631 kilo­me­ters of smelly and pol­luted rivers in Shang­hai, mainly in sub­ur­ban dis­tricts.

“We are mak­ing tai­lored clean­ing plans for 471 small and medium rivers around Shang­hai,” said Zheng Kai, an of­fi­cial with bureau’s Aquatic En­vi­ron­ment Divi­sion.

“The goal is to make black and smelly rivers dis­ap­pear from Shang­hai by the end of 2017.”

Zheng said pun­ish­ments against en­ter­prises il­le­gally dis­charg­ing waste into rivers will be strength­ened this year.

The Shang­hai En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Bureau’s en­force­ment team re­ported 3,317 en­vi­ron­men­tal law and reg­u­la­tion vi­o­la­tions in 2016 and a col­lected fines of 251 mil­lion yuan (US$ 36.2 mil­lion) — up 28 per­cent and 45 per­cent from 2015.

Eleven vi­o­la­tors who did not make re­quired cor­rec­tions re­ceived added daily fines.

Zhou Hu, vice cap­tain of the en­force­ment team, most cases in­volved il­le­gal dis­charge of waste wa­ter, gas, solid wastes and noise pol­lu­tion.

The law en­force­ment against il­le­gal volatile or­ganic com­pounds dis­charge has been a ma­jor task for the team in the past year. They ac­counted for 60 per­cent of gas dis­charge cases last year.

Shang­hai elim­i­nated 53,000 heavy pol­lut­ing ve­hi­cles in the past year, as well as 5,800 un­li­censed or heavy pol­lut­ing com­pa­nies and 2,720 livestock farms.

About 1,456 in­dus­trial en­ter­prises up­graded their VOC dis­charge fa­cil­i­ties to avoid open-air dis­charge.

The bureau said more ad­just­ments will be made this year to con­tinue im­prov­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, as well as pro­mot­ing cleaner and low-sul­phur fuel for boats.

Typ­i­cally, win­ter is the worst time for pol­lu­tion. The Shang­hai En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Bureau said some en­ter­prises would be ad­vised to ad­just their man­u­fac­tur­ing plans, such as sus­pend­ing op­er­a­tion dur­ing win­ter.

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