Smog continues in China; task force says air quality standards must improve  

According to a state-funded task panel, China should boost air quality requirements since persistent smog continues to have a serious public health impact despite recent advances.

China’s air quality has significantly improved since a smog-fighting operation began in 2013. According to official data, average concentrations of microscopic, dangerous airborne particles known as PM2.5 decreased by roughly half from 2015 levels to 30 micrograms per cubic metre last year.

While China met its intermediate target of 35 micrograms, it is still considerably above the World Health Organization’s recommended 5-microgram limit (WHO). Smog levels near 200 micrograms are still present in several sections of the industrial north, particularly in the winter.

The task force commissioned by China’s national pollution research program concluded on Friday that Beijing needed to amend national air pollution regulations and improve legislative protections for human health.

“The acute health risk of ambient PM2.5 pollution usually means that short-term exposure to PM2.5… may cause acute damage to the body, trigger the onset of symptoms or diseases (primarily cardiovascular or respiratory disease), and lead to premature death and a series of adverse health effects,” the report stated.

According to the findings, each 10-microgram rise is related with a 0.34 percent increase in the chance of respiratory disease hospitalization.

It urged the government to develop clean energy, improve industries, and reduce transportation pollution, noting that China’s objective of carbon neutrality was critical to meeting WHO recommendations.

It urged for better data and a more systematic investigation of air pollution’s health consequences, particularly the influence of “key hazardous components” on human biomarkers.

According to the Global Burden of Disease Study, a program operated by the University of Washington, air pollution caused roughly 1.4 million premature deaths in China in 2019.

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