China May Build Biggest Smog Lab to Control Pollution

China May Build Biggest Smog Lab to Control Pollution

The Chinese Academy of Sciences has proposed spending 500 million yuan ($81 million) to build the world’s biggest smog-research facility in Beijing to address air pollution, the Beijing News said.

The center will allow researchers to simulate smoggy conditions and study what causes pollution to stay over the city, the Beijing News reported yesterday, citing He Hong, the researcher in charge of the project. The National Development and Reform Commission hasn’t yet approved the project, He said.

President Xi Jinping said last week pollution was Beijing’s biggest challenge as thick smog that blanketed northern China cleared after seven straight days at hazardous levels.

The concentration of PM2.5, which are fine particulates that pose the greatest risk to human health, was 205 micrograms per cubic meter over the past 24 hours at 4 p.m. near Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center said on its website. That’s more than eight times World Health Organization’s recommended 24-hour exposure of no higher than 25.

Air pollution adds pressure to the government’s determination to address environmental damage that’s accompanied three decades of double-digit economic growth. In efforts to ease smog, China’s National Energy Administration will promote upgrading fuel products, reducing coal usage and strengthening coal quality management to control pollution, according to a statement on the administration’s website on Feb. 26.

It also plans to boost the use of natural gas this year and speed up solar, wind and geothermal use to diversify away from coal, according to the statement.