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China to Monitor Particle Pollution, Ozone from Next Year

China could start monitoring ozone and fine particle pollution next year and will take measures to curb levels of the two airborne pollutants, an environmental official said on Sunday.

Fan Yuansheng, of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), said the two pollutants had caused great concern and the MEP was making technical preparations to monitor them.

"We should be able to start regular monitoring of ozone and PM2.5 (particle matter) next year, which would lead to measures to deal with them," Fan told a press conference.

He was speaking in response to reports that China's environmental authorities had failed to include fine particles and ozone into their pollution measurements, causing ignorance of health damage caused by the pollutants.

Fine particles, known as PM2.5, are tiny solid particles of 2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller. Health experts believe they are unhealthy to breathe and have been associated with fatal illnesses and other serious health problems.

Colorless ozone is also believed to cause respiratory problems and to affect lung functions.

(Xinhua News Agency August 4, 2008)

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