Long-term mortality benefits of air quality improvement during the twelfth five-year-plan period in 31 provincial capital cities of China


The severe air pollution across China in the past several years has made the Chinese government recognize its significant impacts on public health and society, and take enormous efforts to improve the air quality all over the country, especially during the Twelfth Five-Year Plan (12th FYP). However, the overall effectiveness of these air pollution control policies remains unclear. In this study, we selected the 31 municipalities and provincial capital cities in mainland China as study settings. We collected the annual average population size, mortality rates (total mortality and mortality due to cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, total cancer, lung cancer and breast cancer) and concentrations of air pollutants (PM10,PM2.5,SO2 and NO2) in each capital city from 2010 to 2015 from national or local Statistical Yearbooks. The effect sizes of air pollutants on mortality were obtained from previously published meta analyses or cohort studies. We first estimated the annual mortality rates attributed to the changes in air pollutant concentrations for every city in each year. Then, we further estimated the mortality benefits in the scenarios where the air quality had reached the grade II levels of Chinese Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. In most capital cities, we observed dominant decreases in air pollutant concentrations during the 12th FYP, particularly from 2013 to 2015, which has led to significant mortality benefits for the public. A total of 121,658 deaths (0.441‰) have been prevented due to the decrease of PM2.5 concentrations from 2013 to 2015 in all included cities. The morality benefits were larger in capital cities located in the key regions (the three main regions and ten city groups) than the other cities. In addition, more mortality benefits could be obtained in the future if the air quality reaches the grade II levels of Chinese Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) or WHO guidelines. We concluded that substantial mortality benefits achieved during the 12th FYP may be attributed to the improvements in China's air quality, which indicated the significant effectiveness of air pollution control policies.


Liu, Tao Cai, Yuanyuan Feng, Baixiang Cao, Ganxiang Lin, Hualiang Xiao, Jianpeng Li, Xing Liu, Sha Pei, Lei Fu, Li Yang, Xinyi Zhang, Bo Ma, Wenjun


Atmospheric Environment, 2018


Air pollution, Health benefits , Total mortality , Cancer mortality