Compared to coarser matter, PM 2.5 carries more toxins and hazardous materials, sta

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BEIJING Authentic Montae Nicholson Jersey , Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- China has made a breakthrough in developing its first set of PM 2.5 monitors, which detect the density of toxic particles in the air, after a prototype matches results of international counterparts.

The domestically produced monitors are expected to be commercialized within three years, with more field tests needed. They are expected to be sold at half the price of imported products, Zhu Tong, general manager of the Beijing-based LiuHe Talroad Environmental Technology Co., Ltd, who developed the new monitor, told Xinhua.

LiuHe Talroad has joined forces with another three Chinese companies to conduct a key national project initiated by the Ministry of Science and Technology in 2013 as China speeds up efforts to tackle the hazard.

The equipment not only monitors the density of PM 2.5, particulate matter under 2.5 micrometers in size,in real-time around the clock, but also analyzes the composition of the pollutants, said Guo Wei, the project's chief engineer.

"China has declared a war against air pollution, but first of all, we need to know what we are fighting against exactly," said Zhu.

"Previously, the smog monitors in use focus on the density of the particles in general, but what we are doing is now to go further to track down the content of different major constituents of PM 2.5, meaning, with the monitoring result, we are much easier to find out the polluters," he said.

The project is also designed to help set China's first national standard for monitoring PM 2.5 constituents.

"It's a milestone development in China's combat against smog," said Zhu. "Apps for PM 2.5 density are everywhere, and we can read different statistics everyday, but few of them are legally binding. With the new standard, however, we can tell, for an instance, if a smog monitor is really qualified to detect the toxic particle density as they often claim to be," he explained.


The newest monitors were developed in a lab not far from the center of Beijing, one of the worst hit areas in the country.

After launching the project in October 2013, LiuHe Talroad set up a development lab in an industrial park roughly 46 km northeast of downtown Beijing.

A "national team" of more than 300 scientists and technicians, including Wei Fusheng, one of the two members of Chinese Academy of Engineering who specialize in the air pollution control, have participated in the project.

One of the new prototypes, a white iron box resembling a microwave oven, sits on the desk of Nong Yonguang, a 31-year-old applied chemistry major and one of the core development members.

"It doesn't have a name actually, but I call it smog-breaker. All the parts of the machine, except a Japanese-brand carbon dioxide sensor, are made in China," Nong said.

He avoided giving a detailed rundown on his achievement as its development remains a business secret.

Currently, China has to import the equipment, mainly from the United States.

According to Nong, two prototypes, one in a lab of a Beijing-based university and the other tested in an air quality monitoring station in south China's Guangdong Province, have gone through a nine month experiment comparing its performance with imported machines.

"I'm proud to say the precision and stability of our product is very satisfactory. The data we have got is pretty close to that from the foreign machine. But ours are more easy to operate," he said.

"And most important of all, the toxins in smog varies from places. Our machine is designed for China's real situation," said Nong.

"Actually, the machine now is being tested in Guangdong and will later be sent to Shanxi, China's coal capital, for more tests," he said.

Nong's hometown is a farm village in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, more than 1,600 km from the capital. The first time he saw smog was in late October of 2011, when a "weird grey fog" blanketed the capital city.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection has since revised Environmental Air Quality Standards and added the measurement of PM 2.5 and ozone density in its air rating standard. Air quality is of increasing concern nationwide.

"I had no idea what smog was before I came to work in Beijing four years ago, but now, even in Guangxi, though not in my home village, people see smog occasionally. That's too bad," said Nong.

Compared to coarser matter, PM 2.5 carries more toxins and hazardous materials, stays in the air longer and travels further. They are considered extremely hazardous for health as they go deeper into the lungs than the larger particles that exist in the air.

"I know, the life of a lot of people in China for at least next decade is counting on how we are doing here, and I'm glad we won't let them down, " he said.

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