Stronger policy required to substantially reduce deaths from PM2.5 pollution in China

Journal: Nature Communications

Published: 2020-03-19

DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-15319-4

Affiliations: 3

Authors: 5

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Research Highlight

China must strengthen policies to clear the air

© d3sign/Getty

© d3sign/Getty

China needs to impose stricter national measures to reduce deaths caused by air pollution.

In 2013, China launched a US$270 billion action plan to reduce its air pollution, which is killing nearly a million people a year. Concentrations of the most harmful airborne particles, PM2.5, have been falling ever since.

To quantify the human health benefits, a team that included researchers from Deakin University studied China’s PM2.5-associated deaths between 2000 and 2017.

Annual deaths rose steadily during this time, but the rate of growth gradually halved after the project began. There were 64,000 fewer deaths in 2017 than in 2013, a relatively small decline that could be due to the overwhelming influence of other factors such as age and population structure.

The team modelled future deaths under different interventions and found that China will need stronger policies to meet global Sustainable Development Goals for public health.

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  1. Nature Communications 11, 1462 (2020). doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-15319-4
Institutions Share
Beijing Normal University (BNU), China 0.73
Deakin University, Australia 0.27