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Investigating coal emissions reductions and mortality in China

Coal emissions reductions and mortality in China
Annual PM2.5 pollution in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area from 2013 to 2018, showing a decreasing trend by year, especially in the southern area of Hebei Province. Credit: Li et al

In 2012, China was the largest consumer of coal in the world. In 2013, the State Council of China issued the "China National Action Plan on Air Pollution Prevention and Control," aiming to reduce emissions from coal combustion. The plan included renovations to small residential coal heating stoves as well as retrofits for coal-fired power plants, among other initiatives.

Annual coal consumption fell between 2013 and 2017, which led to observed dramatic decreases in mean daily fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels.

In 2018, a new program, known as "Three-Year Action Plan for Winning the Blue Sky Defense Battle," began, and in the same year, PM2.5 concentrations were further reduced by 9.3% from 2017 levels.

In this context, Xiaoming Shi and colleagues used accountability analysis to assess whether the acute health effects of PM2.5 changed from 2013 to 2018 in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area, which was the most heavily polluted region. The study is published in the journal PNAS Nexus.

Coal emissions reductions and mortality in China
The percentage changes in mortality for total, circulatory, and respiratory diseases associated with each 10 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area. Credit: Li et al

The acute effects of PM2.5 were significantly decreased for total and circulatory mortality. A 10 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 concentrations was associated with an increase of 0.16% and 0.02% in mortality from 2013 to 2015 and from 2016 to 2018, respectively.

According to the authors, the reduced exposure-response relationship could be due to changes in particle toxicity, as PM2.5 from other sources may be less toxic than PM2.5 from coal. Behavioral changes to avoid air pollution may also have influenced the outcomes, the authors add.

More information: Tiantian Li et al, Accountability analysis of health benefits related to National Action Plan on Air Pollution Prevention and Control in China, PNAS Nexus (2024). DOI: 10.1093/pnasnexus/pgae142

Journal information: PNAS Nexus

Provided by PNAS Nexus

Citation: Investigating coal emissions reductions and mortality in China (2024, May 1) retrieved 21 June 2024 from https://phys.org/news/2024-05-coal-emissions-reductions-mortality-china.html
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