US experts offer air quality management experience
Updated: 2013-03-28 06:42
BEIJING - China has a long road ahead in improving its air quality, a US air pollution expert said Wednesday at a forum held by the Beijing Municipal Environment Protection Bureau.
The bureau invited two experts from the US, as well as ten Beijing residents, to attend the forum.
Catherine Witherspoon, former executive officer of the California Air Resource Board, said the air pollution problems China is facing are similar to those faced by California in the 1950s.
US health researchers did not link fatal heart conditions with PM 2.5, or airborne particles measuring 2.5 microns or less in diameter that can deeply penetrate the lungs, until the 1990s, she said, adding that PM 2.5 has since been prioritized in air quality management.
The history of California's air quality management can provide an excellent example for Beijing, she said.
Witherspoon said it took 35 years for California to reduce its air pollution by 50 percent. She suggested using methods similar to those used in California, such as recalling cars that don't meet emission standards and regularly inspecting stationary sources of air pollution, in order to improve China's air.
Christopher James, an air quality expert from Connecticut, described increased monitoring of PM 2.5 in more Chinese cities as a significant improvement in air quality management.
However, the government needs to strengthen its existing pollution control programs, as the 2008 Beijing Olympics Games proved that the government has the ability to do so, he said.
James said enterprises, individuals and relevant departments should make joint efforts to reduce air pollution.
"It's good that the environmental bureau invited local residents to attend the forum. I learned a lot about air pollution and was given some advice on how to reduce it from the experts," said local resident Chang Tianle.