Pollution Levels Cut in China - But Health Risks Remain


Fraser Clarke

Despite cutting pollution in the majority of its major cities, China’s health may be damaged for generations to come according to a new report.

The findings, published this week by the Health Effects Institute, showed that around 1.6 million Chinese people are dying each year as a result of smog, a figure that is only expected to rise as the population ages - despite the decrease in pollution levels.

Recently released figures showed a 6.5% drop in the number of harmful particles in the atmosphere across 338 cities in the country, after a campaign was introduced aimed at cutting coal use and traffic in city centres.

Despite this however the number of Chinese people over the age of 60 has increased by 55 million since 2011, vastly increasing the population’s risk of respiratory conditions.

President of the HEI, Dan Greenbaum, told the Reuters news agency: “People are living longer and older people are more susceptible to the diseases most closely linked to air pollution - the major causes of death in China are strokes, heart attacks, and lung cancer.

“We have done some projections in China up to 2030, and even with improvements in air quality, you see the number of deaths going up as the population gets older.”

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