Air quality and health benefits from China's current and upcoming clean air policies
China is currently in a crucial stage of air pollution control and has intensive clean air policies. Past strict policies have demonstrated remarkable effectiveness in emission control and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) pollution mitigation; however, it is not clear what the continuous benefits of current policies are for the future. Here, we summarized China’s currently implemented, released, and upcoming clean air policies and estimated the air quality and health benefits of the implementation of those policies until 2030. We found that China’s current and upcoming clean air policies could reduce major pollutant emissions by 14.3%-70.5% under continued socio-economic growth from 2010-2030. These policies could decrease the national population-weighted PM2.5 concentrations from 61.6 in 2010 to 26.4 μg/m3 in 2030 (57.2% reduction). Such air quality improvements ensure that over 80% of the population lives in areas with levels below the current annual PM2.5 air quality standard (i.e., 35 μg/m3) and will avoid 95.0 (95% CI, 76.3, 104.2) thousand premature deaths in 2030. We also pointed out several inadequacies of current clean air policies, suggesting more ambitious control actions are needed to better protect the public health under increasing ageing population. Our findings could provide quantitative insights that can be used to better address air pollution issues in China and other developing countries.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Air quality in megacities