Clean air helps reduce health costs by half in Taiyuan city in China

Decade-long measures to check air pollution helped in reducing particulate matter by over 50 per cent in Taiyuan

By Aditya Misra
Published: Friday 05 September 2014

Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province, is a major hub of metallurgy- and energy-related industries (Photo by Francisco Anzola, courtesy Flickr)

There was a 50 per cent reduction in costs associated with loss of life and disability between 2001 and 2010 in the Chinese city of Taiyuan. This improvement in health of people living in the city was a result of air pollution regulations imposed in the city in the last decade, says a study.

Taiyuan, the capital of Shanxi province, is a major hub of metallurgy- and energy-related industries. To check air pollution in the city, the local government implemented a number of policies between 2000 and 2012. These included “mandating the closure of many polluting sources, auditing companies that produced large amounts of toxic and hazardous materials, setting pollutant emissions standards, and promoting energy efficiency and pollution reduction”, says a news release by the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Researchers from the university were involved in the study.

The measures resulted in a more than 50 per cent reduction in concentrations of particulate matter (PM10), which came down to 89 µg/m3 in 2010 from 196 µg/m3 in 2001. “Air quality improvement from 2001 to 2010 was estimated to have prevented 2,810 premature deaths, 951 new cases of chronic bronchitis, 141,457 cases of outpatient visits, 969 cases of emergency-room visits and 31,810 cases of hospital admissions,” says the research paper published online in the journal Environment International on August 27.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) at the Mailman School of Public Health, the Shanxi Medical University, the Center of Diseases Control and Prevention of Taiyuan Municipality and the Shanghai Fudan University School of Public Health.

Research Paper: Health benefits of improving air quality in Taiyuan, China

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