Following on the success of the US Embassy Twitter feed on the air pollution, BeijingAir, the US Consulate in Guangzhou this month followed suit, with Guangzhou_Air.

Launched with little fanfare last week, the US Consulate has installed air quality monitoring equipment that now Tweets at 9am and 2pm each day.

Why is the US government doing this?

The official statement says it is “an unofficial resource for the health of the Consulate community”. Unofficially, it is because there is skepticism about the numbers produced by the Chinese government.

My suggestion: It would be great if the US government set up a similar Twitter feed in Hong Kong and then created a “Compare the Air” app which allowed people to see which city suffered the worst air pollution on a given day.

Clearly a single pollution monitor on top of a single building does not represent the city-wide state of pollution, but these Twitter feeds show the power of trusted data.

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  1. I've heard rumor that foreign service employees get 'hazard pay' if the air is sufficiently bad, so the rooftop detectors are motivated by that.

    Chinese pollution monitoring is not generally done well, but most importantly no Chinese entity measures PM2.5 (particulate matter 2.5microns or larger), which is the most damaging to human health.

  2. Pingback: Tweets about bad air | Journalism, Journalists and the World


    Great idea. Is there wider network of US cities as well that could be included in that app? I'd also like to see data on the “emerging markets” so that we can eyes on the air pollution resulting from the development occurring.

  4. Good idea! We just need to make the right decisions and act at the right time.

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