Professor Looks into China's Air Composition

China's air quality has been a hot topic in recent months because Beijing is hosting the Olympic Games, and a Texas A&M University professor is involved in determining the status of air quality in the world's most populated country.

Renyi Zhang, professor of atmospheric sciences, has participated in a project to study the air in Beijing and learn exactly what's in it. The project is partially funded through the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

"There are two main types of pollutants in the air in almost any city in the world – toxicants, the gaseous type, and particulate matter," Zhang explained. "Both types can be concerns for human health and the Chinese government is doing everything possible to try and control the situation as best as it can, which is not easy.

"One of the biggest problems is that there are other pollution sources in the region," he points out. "So that means that much of the bad air can be transported from one area to another, and there's not much they can do about it. So it's not just a Beijing problem, it's a regional problem.

"We are looking at several factors, including studying the complex chemistry of the air in Beijing , looking at emission controls and their effectiveness, studying the surrounding air from other regions and how it can affect Beijing 's air, and also to compare all of our findings with air quality in other cities we have examined, such as Mexico City and Houston."

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