In a previous post, I mentioned the accolades Suzhou’s environmental monitoring received as the “best in the world,” from a US EPA official when she visited. I also had a chance to see for myself the regulation in action. We were taken to what I’m pretty sure is a showroom for their environmental regulatory monitoring center, because it was a little too polished and showy, as you can see from the above picture. Suzhou has 24-hour camera access to more than 200 of the companies operating in its 3,277 square miles so its regulators can see almost every smokestack and wastewater/sewage outlet. Mr. Jiang Meng told us that he can take a look at the video and know whether the machinery and factory are running properly, although I wasn’t sure how, as the video simply shows smoke coming out of a smokestack and water flowing from an outlet (but perhaps he has bionic eyes that can see the unseen pollution?). They also have direct feeds of online or continuous emissions monitoring (CEMs) from the factories, and when a company is exceeding a pollution limit (超标, chaobiao), it shows up as a red line in their automated ledger. The staff, as well as the manager, in charge of that particular plant or factory is then alerted via text message to attend to the problem and see what is going on.