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China to Report Air Pollution Monitoring Data in 116 More Cities

China widened its air-quality monitoring rules, asking more cities to report data as the nation seeks to combat high levels of pollution.

A State Council notice told 116 more of its cities to disclose air quality monitoring data, including readings for pollutants such as PM2.5 and ozone, adding to 74 cities that already do so. PM2.5 refers to fine air particles that pose risks for lung and heart diseases.

The country will rank its major cities by the severity of their air pollution, according to the statement, posted on the State Council website yesterday and dated July 1.

The planned disclosures comes as a study by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Peking University found that people in northern China may be dying five years sooner than expected because of diseases caused by air pollution, an unintended result of a decades-old policy providing free coal for heat.

The study’s conclusion “is biased and not credible as there were not a lot of samples,” Liu Zhiquan, the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s deputy director of technology standards, was citing as saying by China News Service in a report on its website yesterday.

China plans also to increase the number of cities curbing auto purchases to fight pollution and congestion, the government-backed car association said yesterday.

Eight cities -- Chengdu, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Qingdao, Shenzhen, Shijiazhuang, Tianjin and Wuhan -- will probably introduce measures limiting auto purchases, Shi Jianhua, deputy secretary general of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said at a briefing in Beijing, without being more specific about the timing.

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