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Ph.D. Candidate Hongyan Zhao and Postdoc Researcher Xin Li Published a Paper on Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics


Recently, CESS Ph.D candidate Hongyan Zhao and Postdoc Researcher Xin Li acted as the joint first authors and published a paper on Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics called “Effects of atmospheric transport and trade on air pollution mortality in China”. Professors Qiang Zhang and Associate Professor Steven Davis at the University of California, Irvine, are co-corresponding authors of the paper. 

Global Burden Disease (GBD)have shown that outdoor PM2.5 pollution have been the fourth killer in China, and killed more than one million people per year. Energy and pollution intensive industrial and residential sectors are the main contributors of China’s heavy pollution. However, regions in China differ greatly in climate and economic development, so they bare different premature mortality from atmospheric pollution. Moreover, regions were affected by each other in different ways. On the one hand, emitted pollution can be transported in the atmosphere to long distances across regions; on the other hand, production of goods and associated emissions is transferred from regions consuming to regions producing those goods.

Figure 1 The effect of atmospheric transport (A) and trade (B-D) on each region’s PM-related premature deaths.
In this research, we coupled four physical and epidemiological models, and estimate the premature mortality related to outdoor PM2.5 air pollution in seven regions of China in 2010. We find that 33% (338,600 premature deaths) of China’s PM2.5-related premature mortality in 2010 were caused by pollutants emitted in a different region of the country and transported in the atmosphere, especially from north to south and from east to west. Trade further extended the cross-regional impact; 56% of (568,900 premature deaths) China’s PM2.5-related premature mortality was related to consumption in another region, including 423,800 (42% of total) and 145,100 (14%) premature deaths from domestic consumption and international trade respectively.

This is an important interdisciplinary (economy, environment and health) research, following the paper published by Professors Qiang Zhang on Nature about PM2.5 related premature deaths worldwide embodied in international trade. It for first time shown how the distribution of PM2.5 related premature deaths in China is determined by product trade physical transportation, and reveals how economic activities affect regional pollution. The policy implication of this paper is that, to reduce pollution efficiently and realize sustainable development, we have to upgrade industrial production, especially for the less developed region, thus narrow the gap of economic and technology development among regions. 

Paper link:https://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/17/10367/2017/acp-17-10367-2017.pdf