Beijing turns nose up at perfumes in war on smog

beijingHair gel and perfumes have become the latest targets in China’s war on smog.

Scientists and researchers claim that “daily life emissions” from household items containing volatile organic compounds, including air fresheners and kitchen cleaners, are to blame for 12 per cent of the air pollutants in the city, as much as industrial emissions.

Car emissions, especially those from diesel-powered vehicles, are the single largest source of pollution, China said, contributing nearly half of the air pollutants in the city.

Beijing has vowed to clean up the city’s foul air and it has taken some drastic measures, including ordering a fifth of the city’s 5.6 million cars off the roads every weekday and shutting down heavy-polluting factories in the region. Villagers in Beijing’s suburbs have had to huddle for warmth when authorities banned coal burning for winter heating.

The capital cut its pollution levels by about 35 per cent between 2013 and 2017. Last week its environmental protection bureau said that the average concentration of PM2.5, the tiny, harmful particulate matter, fell almost 17 per cent in the first nine months of this year, compared with the previous period, but it is far from what is deemed safe. There was thick smog yesterday with PM2.5 reaching more than 150 micrograms per cubic metre. World Health Organisation guidelines state that the 24-hour average of PM2.5 should be kept below 25 micrograms per cubic metre to be deemed safe.

The city was shrouded in thick smog yesterday, with the density of PM2.5 reaching more than 150 micrograms per metre cubed. The WHO guidelines state that the 24-hour average of PM2.5 should be below 25 micrograms per metre cubed to be deemed safe.

Tang Xiaoyan, a professor at Peking University, warned that emissions from household items may appear insignificant but should not be ignored. When the city’s air turned foul days before the 2008 Olympics, authorities ordered city-wide closures of laundry services, which helped turn the air quality around on the eve of the Games, Mr Tang told the Science and Technology Daily.

Wang Gengchen, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Atmospheric Physics Institute, told the state-run Global Times that Beijing should tackle indirect pollution sources while measures against vehicles and coal burning are already strict enough.

He said that the volatile organic compounds, common in many household products, generate tiny pollutants through a series of physical and chemical reactions. Chinese scientists have relied on sales data of perfume, hair spray, detergents and cleaners in estimating the amounts of volatile organic compounds released through daily use and their share in causing the foul air.

via Beijing turns nose up at perfumes in war on smog | World | The Times

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