Affiliations: 5Go to article
Summit clears the air
© Danica-Lee Zivanovic / EyeEm/Getty
A crackdown on emissions during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit temporarily reduced air pollution in Beijing.
An excess of aerosols above China’s capital can often enshroud the city in smog, reducing visibility and air quality. To clear the air for the 2014 APEC summit held between November 5 – 11, China prohibited many polluting activities in and around Beijing for one week. Factories closed, driving was restricted and ceremonial fires were banned.
A team including researchers at the Key Laboratory of Aerosol Chemistry and Physics analysed levels of particulate matter (PM2.5) — potentially hazardous airborne particles less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter — and light-extinction by a range of aerosols measured between 28 October and 6 December 2014. They found that PM2.5 concentrations fell by 40 per cent during the summit compared to the weeks either side, and light-extinction by aerosols from coal-burning and traffic decreased by 87 and 78 per cent, respectively.
These findings suggest that the temporary emissions embargo could guide a strategy for improving air quality in Beijing.
- Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 122, 10119 – 10132 (2017). doi: 10.1002/2017JD026997