China to adopt remote monitoring for pollution control

China, the world's top polluter, will build a comprehensive network involving drones, satellites and remote sensors to detect land, sea and air pollution by 2020.

PTI| Last Updated: Aug 05, 2015, 14:38 PM IST

Beijing: China, the world's top polluter, will build a comprehensive network involving drones, satellites and remote sensors to detect land, sea and air pollution by 2020.

The network plan, approved in July, will lead the monitoring, share information among departments and regions and be held accountable if violations are found, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) said yesterday.

The ministry said it will accelerate research on two atmospheric environmental monitoring satellites and two satellites with higher resolution than those currently available, state-run People's Daily reported today.

China is ramping up its pollution control measures after its last year's agreement with the US to reduce the emission levels.

Under the agreement the US would reduce its emissions by 26 to 28 per cent, below 2005 levels, by 2025.

China has agreed both to cap emissions and to produce 20 per cent of its energy using non-fossil fuels by 2030.

It will improve a remote sensor network, guided by the goals of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), which is scheduled to be released at the end of this year, the ministry said.

Remote monitoring has played a bigger role in locating pollution sources. Drones helped authorities locate polluted areas in the Tengger Desert in northern China and identify scattered summer straw burnings, the report said.

"We used the data from the centre's satellites to forecast the movement of smog during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings in November," said Zhang Feng, engineer in the Environmental Supervision Department of the provincial environmental watchdog.

Data collected from monitoring stations helped authorities provide accurate forecasts on hazy days during that period, he said, adding that the environmental satellites are currently being used as support tools as there are not enough of them.

The ministry will also strengthen the supervision of data collected through multiple channels, which is "important to keep the environmental management policies and measures effective and scientific", Chen Jining, the environmental minister, had said in July.