However, the Chinese state media said on Sunday that 496 monitoring stations would release data in real time on six types of pollutants, including sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and on PM2.5, particles that are so small they can only be detected by an electron microscope, but which can cause respiratory and heart disease.
Around 8,600 people in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xi’an died prematurely this year because of PM2.5 pollution, according to a recent study by Peking University and Greenpeace.
The pollution data will be available on the internet and through smartphone apps, said the Ministry of Environmental Pollution. There will also be daily readings on television and radio bulletins.
The Chinese government has been under pressure to improve transparency on air pollution after the US Embassy in Beijing, and then the US Consulate in Shanghai, began broadcasting pollution readings collected on the roofs of its buildings.