Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Studies (NIES) say that PM 2.5 is forecasted to reach Japan’s skies by the spring of 2015 and they are preparing an international project that will properly forecast the pollution levels it will bring. The term PM 2.5 refers to the diameter of the particulate matter that can cause asthma and heart disease as it can infiltrate the lungs and blood vessels.
The air pollution problem was concentrated in China last 2012 but some of it was also blown towards Japan. The head of the Advanced Remote Sensing Section and leader of the research group, Nobuo Sugimoto, says that their project wants to be able to forecast the extent of the sand that will be reaching Japan in the near future. The yellow sand is contained in the PM 2.5 that comes from western China and is blown eastward, passing over the industrial and urban regions of China and toxic elements like black carbon and sulfates become embedded in the sand.
Currently, the forecasts made by the Meteorological Research Institute and Kyushu University do not take into account the toxic substances’ effect on the air and the level of pollution that they bring. The NIES hopes to be able to look at how polluted the yellow sand particles have become and then forecast more accurately the levels that will reach Japan. They are looking at three stages for the forecasting project, with the first level using a special equipment called Lidar (light detection and ranging) that will check on the concentration of the yellow sand. The second stage will involve the optical analysis in Seoul of the yellow particles while the last stage would measure the data through a forecast simulation of the yellow sand.
Earlier this month, the World Health Organization‘s International Agency for Research on Cancer announced that they are now classifying outdoor air pollution as a carcinogen. It will be placed at a level five, which is the highest in the scale on the dangers of causing cancer. PM 2.5 is one of the elements found in air pollution and thus can be considered dangerous and possibly toxic.
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]
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