Beijing to change air-quality reporting

Jan. 6, 2012 at 2:33 PM
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BEIJING, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Beijing authorities, reacting to complaints that the government was understating pollution levels, say they'll release more precise data on city air quality.

The Chinese capital bases its air quality on particles of 10 micrometers or larger, a standard known as PM10, and has not taken into account smaller particulates experts say are most harmful to human health, the Voice of America reported.

The Beijing Environmental Bureau said Friday it will start releasing data based on a PM2.5 standard for smaller particles beginning Jan. 23.

The move was in response to a social-media campaign sparked by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing publishing its own data via Twitter, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Beijing residents have complained the official air quality readings were consistently better than the PM2.5 data, which the U.S. Embassy has been using for it tweets the last four years.

The decision to follow the 2.5 standard was announced following a tour of Beijing's air-quality-monitoring facilities by Environment Minister Zhou Shengxian.

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