Spy-in-the-sky system to spot delta's worst polluters

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 March, 2007, 12:00am

Guangdong is planning to launch a 2.3 billion yuan satellite monitoring centre designed to spot polluters, as part of the province's efforts to curb environmental contamination.

Governor Huang Huahua said in Beijing yesterday that the province, whose thousands of factories have been accused of degrading the region's water and air quality, would take stricter economic and administrative measures to punish polluters.

'One major task to protect the environment is to single out those consuming the largest amounts of energy ... We will also disclose the identity of serious polluters,' he said on the sidelines of the National People's Congress annual meeting.

Mr Huang's remarks followed comments by Guangdong's environment chief, Li Qing , that the province would start building an around-the-clock satellite monitoring centre to identify pollution sources.

Mr Li told the Guangzhou Daily newspaper that the facility would be the 'most advanced environmental monitoring headquarters' in the mainland.

With a 2.3 billion yuan price tag, the proposed satellites and environmental surveillance and warning system would provide information for authorities to chart the state of the environment.

It would be used to identify heavy polluters and as a reference for approving new industrial projects, Mr Li said. 'If there is any accident, we can also immediately find the location.'

It was not clear whether the data would be made public or whether people would be notified promptly when accidents occurred.

Beijing-based water expert Ma Jun said it was a good idea to use technology for environmental protection but the government should release more information. 'If environmental protection information could be made public, people who are directly affected and the media can pay attention and support law enforcement,' he said.

Wu Dui , a leading expert on Pearl River Delta air pollution, said the satellite monitoring plan was a very advanced idea for the mainland and would definitely raise the efficiency of air protection.

Mr Huang said the province would increasingly rely on technology to protect the environment.

He said although most parts of the mainland are required to raise energy efficiency by cutting consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 per cent by 2010, Guangdong had been set a target of 16 per cent, or 3.2 per cent per year.