Air Pollution in Major Chinese Cities: Some Progress, But Much More to Do
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Air Pollution in Major Chinese Cities: Some Progress, But Much More to Do

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      J Environ Prot (Irvine, Calif)
    • Description:

      Ambient (outdoor) air pollution has been implicated as a major cause of acute cardiovascular and pulmonary illnesses and increased risk for acute and chronic effects after chronic exposures, including mortality and morbidity. In 2008, due to persistent health concerns about its workforce and their dependents, the US Mission in China began monitoring air quality at the US Embassy in Beijing. Subsequently, monitoring stations were also established at US consulates at Shanghai (2011), Guangzhou (2011), Chengdu (2012), and Shenyang (2013).


      To determine whether there have been definable trends in air quality in these five Chinese cities.


      Air monitoring results from each locale for accumulated PM2.5 particulate matter were calculated hourly. Accumulated data were organized, culled using a standardized set of heuristics, and analyzed for trends.


      China’s capital city, Beijing, experienced decreased PM2.5 from 2013 through 2015, but no significant long-term downward trend from 2008 through 2015. Shanghai has not shown any definable air quality trend since 2012. Chengdu experienced some improvement in air quality since 2013, but none discernible from 2012 through 2015. Guangzhou had generally better air quality, and a downward trend since 2012. Shenyang experienced increasingly severe air pollution from 2013 through 2015.


      There appear to have been recent tangible, though modest, improvements in air quality in three large Chinese cities: Beijing, Chengdu, and Guangzhou, but no apparent progress in Shanghai, and a worrisome decline in air quality observed in Shenyang. Despite recent progress, there is a long way to go before even the cities which show improvement reach Chinese standards.

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