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International Update Volume 44, Issue 19

UK TO MISS AIR QUALITY TARGET DATE BY 20 YEARS

United Kingdom

New figures released last Wednesday by the British government show that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions in the Greater London urban area, West Midlands urban area, and West Yorkshire urban area will likely continue to exceed EU limits until at least 2030. The UK has violated the EU pollution limits since 2010, but before Wednesday the government had maintained that all parts of the UK would be in compliance by 2025.

CHINA ENLISTS DRONES IN FIGHT AGAINST AIR POLLUTION

China

Chinese officials recently announced that the government is turning to unmanned aerial drones as part of their most recent efforts to combat air pollution. The drones, which are equipped with infrared cameras, can detect illegal pollution from factories at night, and, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, would be able to “recognize a matchbox from 1000 meters above.” Eleven drones have flown missions in the most polluted regions of the country so far and have detected 64 factories committing violations.

SINGAPORE PROPOSES HARSH PENALTIES FOR TRANSBOUNDARY POLLUTERS

Singapore

Last week, the Singapore government proposed legislation that would levy substantial fines on companies responsible for air pollution that crosses over the border from Indonesia. Air pollution in Singapore reached record levels in 2013, due in part to forest fires in Indonesia, and experts predict that this year’s haze could be worse than last year’s pollution. The drafted changes to the Transboundary Haze Pollution Bill would fine companies S$100,000 for each day of haze and S$50,000 for each day the company fails to comply with preventative measures, for a maximum penalty of S$2 million.