The Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau released post-Chinese New Year PM10 and PM2.5 air concentrations, measures of particles in the atmosphere. The data suggests a correlation between the recent decline in the air quality and the number of fireworks that were set off in celebration of the Spring Festival.
The two days surrounding the celebration witnessed a spike in the level of air pollution.
According to data released by the Environmental Monitoring Center, during the week of the Spring Festival, PM10 and PM2.5 revealed consistently low concentrations during the day, with concentration levels peaking around midnight. The pollution levels reached record highs during New Year’s Eve and the night of PoWu, the fifth day of the first lunar month.
Air quality was generally poorest between 1AM and 2AM, many stations reporting concentration surpassing 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter. The concentration quickly returned to normal levels by 7AM of the next morning.
According to statistics released by the China National Environmental Monitoring Center, during the seven-day holiday period, the Beijing air quality on New Year’s Eve and the two following days were rated “excellent”, the fourth to the sixth day of the holiday were rated “good”, and by New Year’s Day, the quality of air pollution had dropped to “slight pollution”.
Fireworks Contribute To Air Pollution:
In response to the high concentrations of particles in the air following the New Year’s Eve fireworks festivities, the Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau’s Deputy Secretary, Du Shao Zhong (杜少中), stated that temporarily high levels of concentration of particles in the air is not a serious problem. During the holidays, the number of people in Beijing is reduced, as is the pollution。 While the air might be cleaner during the day time, the quality of the air severely drops once the sun sets and the Chinese New Year tradition of setting off fireworks begins, thereby causing the day’s overall air quality average to drop.
According to Mr. Du, the general health effects of short-term exposure to high levels of pollution concentration are menial.
New Pollution Analysis Instrument & The Public：
Before the holiday, the Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau granted the public full access to the results of the PM10 and PM2.5 tests. Environmentalists and private individuals alike used this information to specifically track the changes in pollution levels during the holiday season.
Ma Jun (马军), Director of the Public Environmental Research Center, was one of these individuals. According to Ma’s analysis, the concentration of particulate matter peaked on New Year’s Eve at approximately 1 or 2AM. During the night of PoWu, the main discharge of particles occurred around 1OPM,and an hour later the city witnessed peak levels of concentration. “You can see a direct correlation between fireworks and the level of concentration”, says Ma.
When comparing the wind power and the level of concentration on the night of New Year’s Eve, Ma discovered a negative correlation. “The two are perfect together: when the wind stops, there is no way for the levels of concentration to stabilize, yet, once the early morning wind starts, the level of concentration rapidly declines, indicating the strong impact of weather conditions on the quality of the air”.
Ma suggests that in the future the Environmental Protection Agency and the Weather Bureau should cooperate to base the firework index off of the weather conditions of the given day, “doing so will be of large value to the public, it will allow people who are concerned about the quality of the air to be informed and conduct their own research”.