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China Using Drones To Spot Polluters

samzenpus posted about 10 months ago | from the watery-eye-in-the-sky dept.

China 35

An anonymous reader writes "China is reportedly now using 4 drones to spy on polluting industries, according to The Guardian. The unmanned aircraft can cover 70 sqkm during a two hour flight. According to the state-run China Daily newspaper the drones have helped the ministry 'resolve' over 200 environment-linked cases. The Ministry of Environmental Protection claims that it can tell the type of smokestacks to crack down upon from the color of the smoke."

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Unless (4, Informative)

jasper160 (2642717) | about 10 months ago | (#46532483)

The appropriate bribes and connections are in place.

Re:Unless (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46532577)

Utterly unlike the US then.

Re:Unless (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 10 months ago | (#46534555)

Oh, hey, a tu quoque argument! Neat!

Jasper is not the US, Jasper presumably does not control the US's corruption, the US doing something does not justify China doing something, and your post was off topic, not insightful.

Re: Unless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46542059)

I think the main point is that the world is such of pontificating American fuck wits who criticize the world despite the fact that America remains the world's largest emitter of pollution, the world's most militarily belligerent nation and contains the world's most annoying fat people.

Re: Unless (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 10 months ago | (#46542443)

Yes, I agree, the main point is a tu quoque argument. You're absolutely right.

Re:Unless (2)

Threni (635302) | about 10 months ago | (#46532593)

Thank god the West doesn't have any problem with the wealthy and well connected being treated any differently to anyone else. Just think what sort of societal problems would be occurring on a daily basis were that the case.

Re:Unless (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about 10 months ago | (#46539055)

Yes, like the USA for example.

Re:Unless (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46532617)

Bribes and connections are alive and well in most countries, including USA.

Re:Unless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46532641)

You mean in a communist country where the government already owns all of the businesses?

Re: Unless (1)

arielCo (995647) | about 10 months ago | (#46532659)

Normally you'd wait for the inspector to come, then make your proposition. If you can't even see him, you'd have to find out who he is and pay him a visit, o bribe his boss, which costs more.

Re: Unless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46535905)

If you can't even see him

At this point, I think we can all agree that the pollution is probably too thick.

Re:Unless (2)

jandersen (462034) | about 10 months ago | (#46535089)


The comments on this list really show America in a very unflattering light, sometimes. Fortunately I and many others are less superficial, so I know that most Americans are not complete idiots.

How about reading the article with a more open mind? It is after all about something that is a good idea: using some quite simple, cheaply available technology to do something that is potentially good for the environment. And while judging how poisonous smoke is by looking at it is not accurate, it still gives a reasonable indication in most cases: black smoke is probably full of particulates, white smoke is perhaps mostly steam and so on. It's not as stupid as you make out.

Can it be used for spying? Well, obviously - but it can also be used for billion good things. And as you say in America: "Guns don't kill people ...". It makes little sense being opposed to a technology for what it might be used for by bad people.

how "green" is the use of them? (1)

Ingcuervo (1349561) | about 10 months ago | (#46532551)

How much combustible uses one of this ones? besides, how many, and how much pollutant materials are inside the machinery? not saying its a bad idea, I'm literally asking how environment friendly are those fellas

Re: how "green" is the use of them? (1)

arielCo (995647) | about 10 months ago | (#46532621)

Arguably less than the reduction in the factories it'd catch during its service life? Even if it were a pick-up truck the tradeoff is just silly.

But the thing here is that it's easier to check on a big industrial park or mining operation from the air, and a lot cheaper if the aircraft doesn't have to carry a pilot and an observer.

not enough model planes for sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46532555)

S&M at all time epidemic levels http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=pollution%20weather%20manipulate%20leaders&sm=3

So It's not going to be black helicopters. (4, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 10 months ago | (#46532601)

I can see this sort of specialized mission being misused here in the West.

Border security, drug interdiction, search & rescue... certainly a seemingly endless list of plausibly benevolent drone activities.

Now that the cat is out of the bag regarding governmental spying on its own citizens with no serious negative repercussions, I'd bet they're gearing up.

I've been saying for a while... (4, Insightful)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 10 months ago | (#46532639)

The idea that China is opposed to environmental protection espoused by so many people is pretty badly informed. China's policy is and always has been that it won't needlessly set itself back - but it'll glad do what it can, because it's not like their air pollution is just CO2 and harmless to their environment.

So chances are, the whole "China is building X many coal plants per week!" is a very short-lived trend, and when they can go nuclear + renewables, they're going to do it in a big way very quickly, since the benefits aren't represented in a model, they'll be represented in breathable air. Money doesn't much help you avoid 2.5um particulates no matter where you live. Not on any sensible scale.

Re:I've been saying for a while... (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#46533003)

So chances are, the whole "China is building X many coal plants per week!" is a very short-lived trend

That's a gross misrepresentation. It's "China is building X many coal plants per week without emissions controls!" If China actually gave a shit about emissions, then new construction and new products (like cars) would have strong emissions controls. They don't. So they don't.

Re: I've been saying for a while.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46533789)

Well, according to http://www.ipa-news.com/en/123-0-Standards-by-Region.htm, China does give a shit about emissions.

"Rapid economic growth, growing mobility and an increasing purchasing power and resulting demand for goods have made China one of the fastest growing car markets in the world.

Emission standards in China are governed by the Ministry for Environment (formerly State Environment Protection Administration - SEPA). Chinese standards are based on the European regulations, and are adopted with a certain time delay. More stringent regulations are applied in large metropolitan areas such as Shanghai and Bejing on an accelerated schedule.

China has started to implement Euro 3 standards in Bejing in 2005 and aimed at nationwide application in July 2007. Euro 3 has also become valid for light duty vehicles in 2007. Euro 4 has been introduced in Bejing in 2008 (July 2010 for the rest of the country), the year of the Olympics.
Emission standards apply for passenger cars and light duty vehicles.

Heavy duty vehicles have to meet Euro III standards since 2008. Euro IV has become applicable in January 2010 (January 2008 for the Bejing region), Euro V is scheduled for January 2012."

Re: I've been saying for a while.. (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#46539357)

Only Beijing has strong emissions standards, sort of like California in the USA before the federal government prevented us from increasing ours as we voted to do. Now our standards are not much different from other states. I won't be surprised if that happens for China as well. Also, I can find literally zero studies on this subject which are not from the Chinese government. Now, it's not like I trust my own government, but I double-extra don't trust China's. Their answer when you ask them if they're going to do something bad again is "we killed the last guy who did it", but then it happens again. Melamine nomnomnom!

But guess what? Beijing is just the tip of the iceberg. [theguardian.com] Even if they could fix Beijing, which they could only do by caring about how much pollution comes out of their coal plants, it wouldn't really fix China.

Re:I've been saying for a while... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46533075)

Money does help you to avoid PM2.5 (2.5um particulates). Sulfuric acid mist = blue plume. Sulfuric acid mist (from coal plant) can be controled using carbon ($) or caustic scrubbers ($$). Sulfur dioxide is a precursor to PM2.5 as well as acid rain - it can be controlled by scrubbers. Nitrogen oxides also are precursors to PM2.5 and ground-level ozone (smog) and can be controled by selective catalytic reduction ($$$). So saying money doesn't help - it does and so do the regulations put in place to enfoce control.

Re:I've been saying for a while... (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 10 months ago | (#46554749)

The point was more along the lines of the fact that virtually no attainable level of individual wealth can really sufficiently protect you, in a pleasant fashion, from local environmental and atmospheric pollution.

So China Uses Drones To Spot Polluters (1)

fredrated (639554) | about 10 months ago | (#46532713)

While in America we pass laws making that illegal. So I did wake up in an alternate world after all.

min0s 5, TRoll) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46532745)

may disturb other have their moments OpenBSD. How many and coders *BSD is dying Yet '*BSD Sux0rs'. This towel under the vary for ddiferent the last night of states that there

Re: min0s 5, TRoll) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46533241)

Maybe this will not why aren't?

the color of smoke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46532887)

They don't throw actual gas sensors on those really expensive drones? Just visual inspection with cameras? Why even bother with drones then?

why bother? (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 10 months ago | (#46533019)

It's a lot cheaper to just look in the phone book. Look in the business section and...it's all of them.

Thanks for share (1)

Hung Nguyen Thanh (3585269) | about 10 months ago | (#46533395)

dang tin rao vat, rao ban nha dat, rao bán nhà t, moi gioi nha dat, co dat, cò t, cho thue, dat ban, nha ban, t bán, nhà bán, mua ban, mua bán, ng tin bán nhà, chung cu, can ho

Re:Thanks for share (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46533947)

Sin loi, but nobody here speaks Vietnamese.

Re:Thanks for share (1)

dcw3 (649211) | about 10 months ago | (#46535457)

Damn, my ROT-13 translator isn't working again.

How hard is it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46533577)

Developing a drone to spot polution in China is a ridiculously low bar to hurdle.

China polution drone operation:

Turn the drone on "polution detected, polution detected, polution detected.....repeat a few hundred more times"

Police move in and arest/fine everyone doing anything industrial or mechanized within 1km.

Maybe after a couple of decades of enforcement might the job required of the drone be somewhat difficult to detect poluters.

Re:How hard is it? (1)

OakDragon (885217) | about 10 months ago | (#46535503)

Particulates jam the drone's intake... Drone stalls and dies... Pollution found!

Not just factories. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46534479)

In large cities like Bejing, there are a couple of million of scooter users.
A scooter, especially a 2-stroker, will emit near 100 to 1000 times the crap out the tailpipe compared to a modern Euro6 or Tier 2 bin 4 or better engine on a car.
Heck, even an lawnmower is worse than than your average mega-suv.
Fuel consumption which get reduced to pure CO2 is not a pollution issue for the cities, it's the rest of the emissions.

Breaking news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#46534909)

The drone's cameras were not able to penetrate the smog.

China Ministry of Environmental Protection (1)

zeroryoko1974 (2634611) | about 10 months ago | (#46536185)

Isn't that the ultimate oxymoron? Right up there with military intelligence
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