The eastern Chinese city of Jinan has deployed a new army of air pollution monitors: taxis.
Local authorities said they have installed air quality monitors on top of 100 taxis. The monitors are capable of measuring atmospheric particulate matter such as PM2.5 and PM10, generating data every three seconds and transmitting the location and measurements on a real-time basis.
The 100 taxis are estimated to travel over 23,000 kilometers a day and cover over 95 percent of the roads of Jinan, home to over 7 million people and capital of eastern Shandong Province.
The upside of the taxis is that they go everywhere within the city and leave no corner unturned, according to a spokesperson with the city's environment protection agency.
A total of 1.2 million sets of data will be generated every day, and the 100 taxis are only the first batch of cars deployed in the literal mobile monitoring of air quality.
North China, including Jinan, which is one-and-a-half hours away by bullet train to the south of Beijing, is under intense pressure to meet clean air targets, particularly in winter, when residential heating systems are switched on, typically in mid-November.