Planning for Air Pollution Episodes
The Clean Air Alliance of China invited Chris James to speak at a training for mayors in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region on actions they can take to protect citizens during air pollution episodes. Regions with high concentrations of industry and vehicular traffic can be prone to these hazardous, short-term spikes in pollutant concentrations which are exacerbated by stagnant winds and geographical barriers, such as surrounding mountains. In order to reduce the health and environmental impacts of the episodes, air agencies can develop air pollution episode plans requiring extra mitigation measures. The plans establish trigger levels or stages for each pollutant, define requirements and escalation measures for each stage, correlate actions to the pollutant sources, and require large industrial sources to submit episode plans for review and approval by an air quality agency.Based on the progress already attained in China, Mr. James offers recommendations for monitoring the efficacy of episode measures, coordinating between agencies, and strengthening existing air pollution control programs. At a time when the pace of economic growth is overwhelming the rate of environmental improvement, air pollution episode plans help save lives.