Landmark report provides detailed information on air pollution throughout China

ChinaAir2015-report

 

Comprehensive information on national, regional and city-level air pollution data and policies throughout China is now available with the English-language release of Clean Air Asia’s groundbreaking “China Air 2015: Air Pollution Prevention and Control Progress in Chinese Cities” report.

The report – the first of a series to be produced annually until 2018 by Clean Air Asia’s China office as part of the “Promoting Science‐Based and Stakeholder‐Inclusive Air Quality Management in China” Project – provides air quality data for 74 major cities from 2013-2014, as well as the pollution-control policies of those cities, the three key regions (Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Province, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta) and nationally, and analysis of Beijing and Shanghai’s experiences.

No other report so comprehensively captures air pollution policies at all

levels in China

“No other report so comprehensively captures air pollution policies at all levels in China,” said Clean Air Asia China Director Fu Lu. “It paints a detailed picture about how the air pollution problem has been tackled in Chinese cities in the past two years. It will help people throughout the world better understand the air quality management situation in China.”

The report objectively monitors the implementation and progress of the multi-level policies that are being or will be enacted under the Chinese government’s 2013 “Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan”, which maps out the nation’s air pollution prevention and control efforts until 2017.

Marking China’s move away from control over pollutant emissions, the Action Plan for the first time explicitly sets forth the target of air quality improvement by region, requiring that air quality nationwide will have “improved generally” by 2017, the concentration of coarse particulate matter (PM10) in cities above the prefecture level will have decreased by more than 10 percent on 2012 levels, attainment days will have increased year by year, and the concentration of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Province, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta will have fallen by 25 percent, 20 percent and 15 percent respectively.

The 74 cities covered in the report have all set air quality improvement targets in their air pollution prevention and control action plans and reflect the great leap forward China has made in ambient air quality monitoring, particularly in the establishment of a national monitoring network and the upgrading of a real-time reporting system for air quality data.

China Air report chartHowever, much still needs to be done. The report found that while some initial improvements in air quality had been achieved, the concentration of ozone had increased. And while the 74 cities experienced declines in the average concentrations of PM2.5, PM10, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide, nearly 90 percent failed in 2014 to reach Ambient Air Quality Standards, with particulate matter found to be the primary pollutant.

Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Province were among the hardest hit by air pollution. In 2014, the 10 cities with the least number of attainment days were almost all located in the region and its surrounding areas, eight of which were in Hebei Province.

The report found that some cities in northeast, central and southwest China also experienced serious air pollution problems. However, the air quality management of cities in those areas lagged behind the leading cities in eastern China, where pollution control policies were more concrete and comprehensive and were based on scientific analysis and studies, and which hence were more effective in reducing pollution.

And while the key regions had essentially fulfilled assessment targets for reductions in pollutant concentrations from 2013-2014, a gap still existed between current control targets and the limits stipulated in the national standard.

“There is still a need to formulate mid and long-term strategies to ensure that air quality standards are ultimately achieved,” Fu Lu said.

The full report can be downloaded at http://cleanairasia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ChinaAir2015-report.pdf.

For more information, contact Qiuxia Wang at the Clean Air Asia China office at +86 186 0021 6077 or qiuxia.wang@cleanairasia.org.