Tokyo-Through a program of action, the Japanese Ministry will work with municipalities to collect data on particulate matter concentrations above 2.5 micrograms per cubic meter, the limit considered acceptable by the World Health Organization (WHO), explained to Kyodo.
In Beijing last month reported record levels of pollution, specifically the 12th the concentration of particles (called PM2, 5) reached 993 micrograms per cubic meter of air, resulting in early January that hospital admissions for respiratory conditions increase by 20%.
The Japanese Government studying measures to protect the population in case of detection of a significant degree of pollution, while issuing alerts create protocols as done so far with photochemical pollution.
Japan has about 550 local administrations observatories scattered throughout the archipelago to monitor levels of PM2, 5, although the central government currently does not have access to that data.
In early February, the capital of China resumed normal again in January after the worst pollution levels exceed alert, prompting the request that citizens stay off the street.
Children and the elderly were urged to stay indoors and some residents who ventured out wear facemask as the acrid murk entered its third day.
“I haven’t seen the smog stay so long like this for years,” a 40-year-old woman who only gave her last name, Zhou, said after buying two air purifiers for more than 13,000 yuan ($2,000) each in downtown Beijing. “This seems to be the only solution for us. You used to just open the windows to get fresh air at home, but now you can’t do that since it’s even dirtier outside.”
Air quality has long been a problem in the Chinese capital, but this weekend saw levels more than 30 times above the level judged safe by the World Health Organization.
Several other Chinese cities, including Tianjin, just east of Beijing, and Wuhan, have experienced severe pollution in the past few days.
Zhou added: “For Beijing, cleaning up will take a whole generation but other regions don’t even have any targets to cut coal-burning. I bet the pollution here is mainly from those surrounding regions.”
The US embassy said the highest pollution level it recorded was 755, corresponding to a PM2.5 density of 886 micrograms per cubic meter. The US Environmental Protection Agency says passing 300 on its air quality index would trigger a health warning of “emergency conditions”.
Twenty-three flights were canceled at Beijing Capital International Airport as of 10:50 a.m. today out of 1,625 scheduled, the airport said on its website. “Low-visibility weather will continue to affect the airport” today, it said in a statement yesterday.
This is the second time this year; thick toxic smog has descended over the northern part of the country.
In 2011, China consumed 3.6 billion tons of coal–half the world’s total consumption. And that number continues to rise. Significant progress on energy efficiency (NRDC has been working on this for more than a decade in China) and the expansion of renewable energy could reduce coal’s share of total energy consumption by as much as 10 percent by 2020, according to a LBNL study. But total energy use in China is still on the upswing, which means total coal consumption–and emissions–will also rise.