Guangdong's pollution monitoring network is starting to bear fruit: analysis of data by one of the experts who set up the system points to Foshan being at the centre of worsening air quality. The system has been operating for only six months and information on the province's Environmental Protection Bureau website is rudimentary; nonetheless, that which is available is shedding light on where pollutants are coming from and gives a valuable starting point to tackling the problem. Foshan, southwest of Guangzhou, has the mainland's highest concentration of construction materials and ceramics factories. Hundreds of smokestacks pour thick, black smoke into the air and prevailing easterly winds spread them across the region. Concluding that it and surrounding towns was the source of much of the grey pall hanging over large swathes of Guangdong during the period may not have seemed difficult. But the finding, based on data collected by the monitors is instructive. Pollution cannot be dealt with unless there is scientific data upon which policies can be formed. The concentration of particles and the percentages of various pollutants need to be measured so that the worst sources can be accurately determined. That is being done and the results are analysed by mainland researchers, like Wu Dui , who used it to reach his conclusion on Foshan. Pressure is already mounting for factories in the Pearl River Delta to ensure their production is done in the cleanest possible way. International organisations and firms, wanting to meet consumers' expectations that they are socially and environmentally responsible, should be doing more to lead the charge. Premier Wen Jiabao has also warned of the need for an obvious improvement in China's environmental health by 2020. Analysis and words are cheap without action, and the next step is formulating a specific strategy to curb pollution levels and putting it into practice. Based on initial findings, that would seem to be stricter inspections, heavier fines and greater effort in ensuring compliance with existing anti-pollution laws, putting specific emphasis on Foshan and other pollution black spots. Making more data from the monitoring stations available and issuing a health alert level system, as Hong Kong has, would also help. For now, the bureau's website only shows the state of air quality across the region using a five-grade basis to indicate where levels are worst. The information is compiled the day after it is collated, no breakdowns of the composition of the pollution are provided and no effort is made to give forecasts. Given that pollution is so public an issue, as much information as is available should be released so that the best possible effort can be made to improve the air we breathe.