Is Beijing Fudging Its Pollution Numbers?

On the New Republic’s blog, Alex Pasternack looks at a new report that says the Chinese government may have falsified in reporting decreasing :

Even for those of us with an unlikely and perhaps unhealthy optimism about China’s environmental situation, it wasn’t hard to be suspicious of Beijing’s pollution progress in recent years. In 2007, the Beijing government managed to meet its target of 246 “Blue Sky” days largely thanks to a disproportionate number of days when the API reading was exactly 100. More than a few people wondered if pollution readings weren’t being shaved to meet the official goal. One of those people was Andrews, a young researcher working for a green NGO in China. After digging into official data available on public web sites (like this one and this one), Andrews found that Beijing had been moving its air sampling stations to areas with less traffic and industry to create the appearance of less pollution. His research, first published last year in the Wall Street Journal, showed that if the same monitoring station locations used in Beijing from 1998 to 2005 continued to be used in 2006, 38 of that year’s ‘Blue Sky’ days would have exceeded the “Blue Sky” standard. It’s as if New York City were measuring its pollution by putting monitoring stations in Stony Brook.


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