China's capital city, Beijing will begin releasing real time data of 2.5-micrometer particulate matter (PM2.5) concentration next year, the Beijing Morning Post reported.
The city's environment authority has set up 35 PM2.5 monitoring stations across the city and will run a three-month test. "We plan to officially release real time data of PM2.5 concentration starting from January 1, next year and analyze the data based on international standards," a spokesperson at the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said yesterday. Like the air quality index, the PM2.5 concentration will be categorized in six levels for easy accessibility to the general public: excellent, good, slightly polluted, moderately polluted, heavily polluted and severely polluted, she said. The acceptable concentration level is set at 75 milligrams, which "meets the lower limit of the international standard," she added.
Real time data will be released on Weibo, or microblog, the Chinese equivalent of twitter. They are also likely to be sent to mobile phones.
The PM2.5 concentration is an important indicator of air quality. In Chinese cities, the evaluation of air quality is usually based on the concentration of 10-micrometer particulate matter (PM10). In Beijing, the American Embassy has been releasing its evaluation of the city's air quality based on PM2.5 for an extended period of time. This data and Beijing government's data usually showed large disparities, causing outcry and prompting the city authority to adopt the new standard.
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