Reduction in Sulfur emissions in China

The fall in sulfur dioxide emissions in China displays the excellent efforts brought by the antipollution policies undertaken by the Chinese Government. The study co-authored by an MIT academician demonstrates how one of the anti-pollution laws has been successful in reducing the concentrations of sulfur emitted from coal-fired power plants by 13.9 percent.

The achievement is applaudable but also brings with it some oddities. The law proposed to bring more significant reductions in emissions of Sulfur dioxide especially in the crowded regions with the higher level of air pollution. But the plants contaminating the air the most are the ones who have been least in agreement with the standards. The stunted resemblance is seen between the data convened by independent satellites in crucial places and areas with more levels of sulfur dioxide reported. The vast disparity is due to the methods used in the study. The data that cannot be gathered through reports and audits was dotted by the comparisons that researchers made using satellite data and on-the-ground emissions monitoring systems. 

The team of researchers conducted the study using continuous emissions monitoring systems (CEMS). These are sensor systems used to arrest the pollution levels from power plants in China. The data was collected from four provinces and 256 plants combined with ‘NASA satellite data.’ The assessment of changes in emission behaviors using NASA satellite data provided accurate details invulnerable of any manipulation whereas the sensory systems planted in power plants can be manipulated and are subject to easy exploitation thereby influencing the readings. The evidence was striking as the data taken from two different monitoring systems show two different sets of correspondence. 

The disparities could be due to the stricter new standards. It must be tough for the power plants to comply with these standards and as a result, managers tried to alter or tried to exclude the data. The drop-in compliance in the ‘key’ regions from 100 to 50 percent clarifies that it was difficult for plants to meet the new standards. The overall study helps Government in taking new policy lessons. Satellite data and remote sensing can achieve accurate data from the individual emitter. Furthermore, it's essential to have strict pollution norms, but more efficient standards are needed so that emitters become responsible enough and participate in reducing the levels of pollution in the country. New rules work best with proper implementation and honest reporting. There is still a lot to be done to control the air-pollution, but the success story of China is truly inspiring.