Levels of air pollution in Okinawa exceed national environmental standard

February 8, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

Concerned about the effects of air pollution from China, on February 7, the Environmental Preservation Division of the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) released measurements of particles called PM2.5 (that are smaller than 2.5 micrometers) that originate from sources such as car exhaust. This data has been recorded since January 1, 2013, and on their website they state that the daily average values for Okinawa from January 23 to 25 exceeded the national environmental limit of 35 cubic micrometers. Updated estimates during those three days were between 40.9 and 49.6 cubic micrometers.

The OPG began reporting the data in response to increasing numbers of inquiries from citizens about the effect of air pollution from China. As of February 5, the OPG had measurements taken since January 30, but in addition to that data, they then also analyzed the values before January 29, finding that the three days mentioned surpassed the national reference value. Head of the division’s Atmospheric Environment Section, Ken Kinjo, commented that the relationship with air pollution in China is unclear.

On their website, the OPG suggests that people wear masks and avoid going outside when there is smog. They recommend using anti-virus masks because the PM2.5 particles are so small.

The website of the Environmental Preservation Division of the OPG is http://www.pref.okinawa.jp/kankyouhozen/index.html

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

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