Public Reacts to Stricter Smog Readings in Beijing

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We reported on Monday that Beijing will begin releasing stricter hourly updates on air pollution levels before the Chinese New Year. But for some residents in the Chinese capital, the move isn't enough, saying real measures need to be taken to clean up the air.

Chinese citizens are responding to the announcement that stricter air pollution readings for Beijing will be released every hour by January 23rd, this year's Lunar New Year. The announcement followed public outrage at the discrepancy between air pollution levels released by Beijing authorities and those released by the United States Embassy in Beijing.

Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner Zhou Rong emphasizes the need for accurate air pollution readings.

[Zhou Rong, Greenpeace Campaigner]:
"The old pollutant standard to evaluate our air is already out-dated. So if we talk about improvement of our air condition according to that standard and that we have 'blue skies', it is very inconsistent with how the public is feeling."

The new readings will include PM 2.5, or particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter. These tiny particles are considered to be the most damaging to people's health.

[Wang Nan, Beijing Resident]:
"My son has coryza for four months already. It is being treated, but his condition is not getting better. Doctors said it is caused by the climate, so cannot be totally cured. The air pollution is indeed heavy."

Now that the public will be better informed, Zhou says it's time to take steps to actually improve air quality.

[Zhou Rong, Greenpeace Campaigner]:
"In general, if we don't have so much pollution, we won't have such serious foggy days. So, from this perspective, our air pollution has reached the extent that we have to do something about it at this point."