China to centralize administrative power on air quality monitoring - ENVIRONMENT - Humanrights


China to centralize administrative power on air quality monitoring
November 10,2016   By:People's Daily Online

(File photo)

Nov. 10, 2016 -- China will establish a national environmental monitoring system and reduce local governments’ administrative power over environmental monitoring in an effort to obtain more authoritative and accurate statistics regarding pollution, according to a notice published on Nov. 7.
The notice, released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), stipulated that China will centralize administrative power on air quality monitoring, and a total of 1,436 monitoring stations across the country will be directly supervised by China National Environmental Monitoring Center. Surveillance cameras will also be installed in the monitoring stations to prevent false air quality readings.
Despite Chinese authorities’ endless efforts to tackle false readings, a number of cases of falsification have been reported in recent years. In October, several officials in Xi’an, Shaanxi province jammed cotton gauze into monitoring sensors to improve air quality readings. According to an online survey conducted by China Youth Daily in October, nearly 70 percent of people say they doubt the credibility of air quality data released by government departments.
“In order to deal with the falsification of air quality data, the government should alter the [supervisory] system ... in an attempt to generate accurate and impartial statistics,” said Zhang Yuanhang, an environmental expert at Peking University, to Xinhua News Agency.
According to the notice, China will also establish a national quality control system to supervise the quality of air, soil and surface water, improving the transparency of all environmental data.
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