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Air quality management in China: Issues, challenges, and options

Wang, Shuxiao, Hao, Jiming
Journal of environmental sciences (China) 2012 v.24 no.1 pp. 2-13
National Ambient Air Quality Standards, air pollution, air quality, carbon, cities, climate, coal, control methods, electricity, emissions, energy, energy use and consumption, guidelines, issues and policy, nitrogen oxides, ozone, pollutants, pollution control, public health, renewable energy sources, sulfur dioxide, volatile organic compounds, China
This article analyzed the control progress and current status of air quality, identified the major air pollution issues and challenges in future, proposed the long-term air pollution control targets, and suggested the options for better air quality in China. With the continuing growth of economy in the next 10-15 years, China will face a more severe situation of energy consumption, electricity generation and vehicle population leading to increase in multiple pollutant emissions. Controlling regional air pollution especially fine particles and ozone, as well as lowering carbon emissions from fossil fuel consumption will be a big challenge for the country. To protect public health and the eco-system, the ambient air quality in all Chinese cities shall attain the national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) and ambient air quality guideline values set by the World Health Organization (WHO). To achieve the air quality targets, the emissions of SO₂, NOx, PM₁₀, and volatile organic compounds (VOC) should decrease by 60%, 40%, 50%, and 40%, respectively, on the basis of that in 2005. A comprehensive control policy focusing on multiple pollutants and emission sources at both the local and regional levels was proposed to mitigate the regional air pollution issue in China. The options include development of clean energy resources, promotion of clean and efficient coal use, enhancement of vehicle pollution control, implementation of synchronous control of multiple pollutants including SO₂, NOx, VOC, and PM emissions, joint prevention and control of regional air pollution, and application of climate friendly air pollution control measures.