Air pollution causing 17% of deaths in China

09 Jan Air pollution causing 17% of deaths in China

The research, conducted by Berkley Earth, a non-profit organisation studying climate change and related issues, used hourly air pollution data from over 1500 sites, made available by the Chinese government.


The research team produced pollution maps for eastern China, which was found to have the highest levels of pollution – as previously thought – but other areas also experienced significant levels; on average, 38% of people living in China were found to experience unhealthy concentrations of pollutants.


The data from the Chinese national reporting system focuses on six pollutants: particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and carbon monoxide.


The team are publishing four months of their data in PLOS ONE later this month but have also released 16 months of data on their website. The data showed that air pollution was associated with 4,000 deaths each day.


China’s use of coal has fallen dramatically this year despite a continued rise in the country’s GDP. In the first four months of 2015 coal use fell by 8% and carbon dioxide emissions by 5%, compared with the same period in 2014.1


Air pollution affects almost every person in the world and ERS supports actions to tackle climate change, notably through the Healthy Lungs for Life ‘Breathe Clean Air’ campaign.


In October, the European Parliament will vote on the National Emissions Ceiling Directive strengthened by the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee in July 2015 to include binding emission reduction targets for ammonia, methane, mercury, PM2.5, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide.

European Respiratory Society