Last Friday, Chinese state media announced that hourly updates on air quality would be released to the public before the Lunar New Year. It comes after weeks of public pressure from Beijing residents.
The public had discovered that Beijing environmental authorities had been releasing conflicting data compared with data from the United States Embassy in China. US figures posted on Twitter put pollution in Beijing at “hazardous” levels while the Chinese regime marked Beijing has only having "slight" pollution.
The stark difference is because the US Embassy measurements take into account PM2.5—pollution particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, which are more dangerous and can lead to severe respiratory problems.
While Beijing authorities also measure PM2.5 levels, it wasn’t factored into their overall air quality rating and it was not made public. Chinese citizens questioned why the information has been kept secret.
The new hourly updates will have PM2.5 information available.
China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection stated that PM2.5 levels would be made available to the public nationwide by 2016. This week, Shanghai is the latest city to install PM2.5 measuring equipment.