During more than three decades, continued economic growth has been accomplished at the expense of an excessive use of energy that has placed an enormous burden on the ecological system Fang et al. Large reforms on the modernization of environmental protection institutions, the standards to control pollutants, and the work on legal framework, among others, have expressed the will of the central government to advance in the prevention and control of air pollution PCAP.
However, little attention has been placed on how knowledge about air pollution is transformed to policy, and how different communities interact in the governance process. This is interesting, because the popularization of the internet and mobile devices has facilitated the dissemination of information regarding air pollution Kay et al. While the former is based on policy analysis from the fields of law, policy, and environmental engineering, the latter has developed from the discipline of Science and Technology Studies STS concerning environmental governance and policy.
Both the Environmental Protection Law of trial version and the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law stipulated general provisions and guidelines for supervision and management. The most notorious initiative until now has been the amendment of the Environmental Protection Law EPL , a decision which was postponed for years. Five-Year Plans FYPs are especially relevant for the definition of guidelines for economic and social policy, including environmental protection.
Other ministries and agencies e. It corresponds to the State Council and the ministries to formulate policies, regulations and standards that usually guide the provincial and local governments. It is important to note that the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law has followed a long path to become the principal guiding law in the area today. Finally, after fifteen years of political indecision, the law has been updated to support the changes in the 12 th FYP. Both networks share common features, such as the type of stations, namely: i—monitoring, ii—assessment, iii—control, and iv—background.
Recent evidence has shown that about 1. Moreover, a shorter life expectancy and higher rates of mortality are associated with exposure to PM, as documented in several studies Chen et al.
Thus, PM can interact with other elements including energy structures, climatic conditions, and living habits across the nation Fang et al. Also, due to the association of PM2. There are a number of scientific and political explanations for this. On the one hand, there was a grounded understanding of the physical and chemical behavior of these types of pollutants.
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On the other hand, any attempts to regulate or control emissions were facilitated by the association of the emitter and its geographical location. The command and control approach, which was the most common type of pollution management, permitted the control of primary pollutants under the official plans. At the time, the only available data related to PM10, which in fact showed a significant reduction Fig. On the other hand, PM2. To date, only eight cities have been in compliance 4 , and almost half of the cities reported unhealthy average concentrations Fig.
Figure 1. Figure 2. Concentrations of PM2. It is challenging for not only the public, but also the scientific community and policy makers to access, use, and understand a broader spectrum of air pollution. Moreover, the links between data and PCAP policies were less efficient than expected. According to Wan and Patdu:. The public also has canalized their concerns through online social networks. For the government, the participation of the new actors represents a challenge.
In general terms, policies and legislation such as the Open Government Information regulations of and the EPL have extended the rights of society and NGOs to participate in the environmental governance and obtain environmental information; however, it has been made clear that if their activity harms the economy, social stability, or state secrets, then punitive measures will be taken.
In , the Beijing government started publicly reporting an API, in the same way as the US embassy had been doing for over three years with its own index. Online citizens expressed their distrust and criticisms of the Beijing index.
The issue spurred a diplomatic protest from China, but soon after the government advanced the adoption of a new standard GB , adopting a similar index to the U. Such national attention was considered dangerous for some sectors of the government, and the video was removed and banned until the present. Experts have expressed concern about the strategies to control airborne pollutants Wang et al. Although there are key steps to a new governance of PCAP, however, all plans are currently under construction, with a view to accomplishing them in the long-term.
For instance, the inter-regional plans have been instrumental in coping with the transboundary character of PM2. The body of research includes environmental modeling, innovative institutions e. Air pollution has also brought specific attention to the works of Jasanoff , Yearley and Lidskog and Sundqvist This section proposes two specific research agendas based on the main questions that these authors have previously discussed regarding the scientific knowledge-policy problem and public engagement.
Due to a lack of research about the topic in PCAP in China, I suggest some questions as a form to apply to the understanding of its evolution and the transition witnessed from the 12 th FYP, all of which are described in this article. A classic explanation of how policy and knowledge can merge together was offered by Sabatier , through the framework that considers different levels of the government involved in policy changes, and how different actors and knowledge are integrated.
China is still shown as both a successful and unfinished case with regard to the application of Western policy and technical recipes for PCAP. At a basic level, the reason is that STS understands the relation of science and government as being political. This has been demonstrated by recent research on the policy—knowledge interface that explains the dynamic process of policy making and the diversity of knowledge producers Jones et al. The process implies that scientists provide content to some decisions in policy making, while decision-makers then validate or reject this knowledge to solve specific social problems.
In the interaction, it is not always scientists who provide evidence-based assessment Juntti et al. Before , scientists were asked to provide research, models, and data to legitimize or readdress policy decisions. One example is the application of satellite observation to estimate PM2. The new position of scientists, however, does not undermine the previous role to legitimize and readdress policy decision but rather adds a new angle, one of independence.
Air Quality & Lead Among Environmental Concerns Of 2018
Timidly but increasingly, non-governmental initiatives such as the Clean Air Alliance of China, which groups together experts in air pollution, are becoming crucial in creating a sense of community that interacts with policy makers through the traditional political channels, but also adding peer review and scientific research as tools of participation. During the s, scientific advisors of the U. Whitehead on UK air pollution control complements the idea of governance based on scientific knowledge, and is guiding in a broader sense.
The author provides a history of the relationship between atmospheric science and the State, where air pollution governance is constructed from a scientific basis. As described earlier in this article, the role of the public and the media has become both essential and problematic when challenging the official position on air pollution, especially where data bias and poor management have arisen. Although in previous years the number of demonstrations on environmental problems has increased Gardner, , they seldom become a movement and are usually dissipated either through police force or governmental solutions.
Environmental Issues and Air Quality in Hong Kong
Secondly, the initiatives on air pollution have become less sound and mediatic, seemingly after the government updated the Air Quality Index and established monitoring stations in most of the cities. The example of the US Embassy in Beijing provides a clue to the type of sound participation that is preferred in main cities and urban classes Huang, The interest in using online social networks arises from transparency, data accuracy, and health effects.
NGOs such as Green Beagle and Friends of Nature, both based in Beijing, have integrated this approach, supporting citizen science to understand and appropriate the language of science on air pollution. At some point, there were small initiatives to construct independent monitoring data, but it soon became known that the government would possibly condemn this.
- Air Quality — The Collaborative on Health and the Environment.
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A clue of how this has taken form is to explore the fact that in other latitudes, the skepticism on data was resolved. As an example, in the s, at an early stage of the implementation of air quality monitoring stations in the U. Yearley, ; , there was a strong connection to the kinds of questions, concerns and tools that people embraced. Alford, W. Liebman Clean air, clear processes? Hastings Law Journal 52 3 : Andrews, S. Environmental Research Letters 3 3 : Chan, C.
Air pollution still too high across Europe — European Environment Agency
Yao Air pollution in mega cities in China. Atmospheric Environment 1— Chen, B. Kan, R. Chen, S.