Air Pollution in China

Graph of energy consumption in China

To support the continuing rapid economic growth, energy consumption in China has increased dramatically during the past decades (Figure1). This drastic increase in energy consumption without planned environmental protection and preservation programs has resulted in serious environmental pollution in China. While the energy and industrial sectors are now the largest contributors to urban air pollution in China, motor vehicle emissions are becoming an increasingly important source for urban air pollution, especially in large cities.

NO2 levels in ChinaFigure 2. The concentration of NO2 in 31 provincial capital cities as compared to national standard of NO2 for air quality. 

Figure 2. The concentration of NO2 in 31 provincial capital cities as compared to national standard of NO2 for air quality.

Based on a recent IEHS study, almost all cities in China today exceeded the WHO and the country’s ambient standards for TSP and SO2. Most of the cities also exceeded the national ambient standard for NO2 as shown in Figure 2. The rapid development of township and village enterprises (TVEs) has contributed significantly to China’s economic development.  The TVEs, however, have also produced large quantity of untreated pollutants. Since TVEs are widely scattered across vast rural areas, these untreated wastes have inflicted damage on the environment and affect the health of the immense rural population in China.