pollutionbeijingChina’s largest cities suffer from dangerously high levels of chronic pollution as any long-suffering resident will testify. But what is the government doing about it?

According to official agency Xinhua, the latest initiative will see China build a nationwide network monitor the impact of air pollution on health.

A total of 43 monitoring spots will be set up in 16 provinces and municipalities  most affected in the next three to five years. The aim of the project is to improve research on air pollutants in different regions and its the impact on the health of vulnerable groups.

The Chinese Ministry for Environmental Protection already provides air quality data for cities throughout China, so its difficult to know just how this latest initiative will improve on the current system — or whether a new monitoring system is actually needed when it is clear much more decisive action is needed on the smog prevention front.

The government recently announced tough new measures designed to to combat air pollution and hopefully deliver significant improvements in air quality in key regions by 2017.

The measures include closing down polluting factories, improving fuel quality and reducing the current heavy dependence on coal.