Major study will track down Delta air polluters

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 March, 2007, 12:00am

HK may play role in joint 200m yuan Beijing-Guangdong fight to cut smog

The central government and Guangdong province will launch a 200 million yuan study to identify the main sources of pollution in the Pearl River Delta.

The project, jointly launched by the Ministry of Science and Technology and Guangdong Provincial Government, will be completed by 2010, with Beijing investing about 100 million yuan and Guangdong picking up the rest of the expenses.

Zhong Liuju, the chief of the Guangdong Environmental Protection Monitoring Centre, said it would be the first monitoring of atmospheric pollution on the mainland.

He said air pollution in the delta was a far more complex problem now, with the increasing number of vehicles adding to pollution caused by factories.

Mr Zhong said a new standard should be set up for monitoring the new sources, such as atmospheric ozone and fine particles.

'We can find out the sources of all pollution by establishing this monitoring network,' he said. 'It can also help us evaluate the effectiveness of environmental policies and reduce the pollution effectively.'

It is understood that Guangdong authorities have already held talks with the Hong Kong government on the project and experts from the SAR might take part. 'Air pollution sees no border and Hong Kong can give a big hand [with the study],' Mr Zhong said.

The cross-border air quality monitoring network developed by Hong Kong's Environmental Protection Department and the Guangdong Environmental Protection Bureau since 2005 has been seen as a symbol of cross-border co-operation.

Ma Jun, a Beijing-based expert who focuses on China environmental protection issues, said reinforcement of technology was only one side of environmental protection, while the public needed to be told the truth about environmental pollution.

'We found it strange that the polluters on the black list could always survive,' Mr Ma said. 'It means the government knows the sources of pollution but does not enforce the law [to close them].'

Mr Ma said Pan Yue , deputy director of the State Bureau of Environmental Protection, was taking the lead to draft a new regulation on releasing environmental information.

'Guangdong needs to keep abreast of the trend [for more transparency] and open more windows [about the environmental issues] to the public.'

A spokeswoman for Hong Kong's Environmental Protection Department said the department would exchange information and ideas with the Guangdong authorities.

Guangdong governor Huang Huahua said this month the province was planning to launch a 2.3 billion yuan satellite monitoring centre designed to spot polluters as part of its stepped up programme to tackle environmental degradation.