China’s raft of clean air policies saved hundreds of thousands of lives in 2017 alone


Fine particle pollution declined rapidly following the implementation of new rules on industrial emissions and the promotion of clean fuels, according to the study. The study, which focused on the period from 2013-2017, was conducted by a group of Chinese researchers and scientists. PM2.5 particulate matter, as this kind of pollution is known, is so small that it can enter the bloodstream, potentially leading to cancer, stroke and heart attack in the long term. After rapid industrialization and weak regulations left the country with a reputation for smog and bad air quality, Chinese authorities started to take air pollution seriously in 2008.

The study found “significant declines” in PM2.5 levels across China from 2013-2017, coinciding with new standards for thermal power plants and industrial boilers, the replacement of old factories, and new emissions rules for vehicles.While the weather can also influence PM2.5 concentrations, the study found it had relatively little impact for the period of the study.The authors say this “confirms the effectiveness of China’s recent clean air actions.”These recent actions have seen Beijing fall out of the top 100 most-polluted cities in Asia in recent years, with overall pollution levels 10% lower across Chinese cities between 2017 and 2018.

However, the government is facing an uneasy balancing act: it must handle the public’s environmental concerns but avoid taking action that would slow growth, all while dealing with an economy that has already expanded rapidly — often without the safety and emissions standards people are now demanding.Air pollution is a global issue, and India is now home to 22 of the 30 most polluted world cities, according to the Greenpeace/AirVisual report.