China cut concentrations of hazardous particles known as PM2.5 by 6.5 percent in 338 cities last year. China Daily via REUTERS/File Photo COOKING FUMES He pointed to the challenge of cleaning up smaller factories that emit PM2.5 particles, as well as the need to tackle other pollutants. The number of annual deaths related to indoor burning in rural areas has halved since 1990 to 600,000, the study said.
Smog-prone northern regions also met 2013-2017 air quality targets after a winter campaign to cut industrial output, coal consumption and traffic. Concentrations of lung-damaging, ground-level ozone, caused in part by urban traffic congestion, are rising and experts say China should target it in its new action plan. However, the millions of migrant workers who moved to cities and industrial areas over that period may have replaced one serious health risk with another, Greenbaum said.
The number of Chinese people over 60 reached 240 million at the end 2017, accounting for 17.3 percent of the population and up 55 million since 2011, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Authorities should also focus on the countryside, where indoor pollution caused by direct fuel combustion is responsible for more than a third of total annual deaths, the HEI study said. Buildings are seen amid smog on a polluted day where a blue alert is issued, in Beijing, China April 2, 2018.
The China Association of Social Security, a government-registered research group, expects the number to reach 400 million by 2035. Inhaling fumes from the indoor burning of coal or biomass for cooking and heating is associated with higher rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in rural areas. REUTERS/Stringer Average PM2.5 stood at 43 micrograms in China last year, but rose to 65 micrograms in the heavy industrial region of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, according to environment ministry data.