White Paper: AQLI Update: Is China Winning its War on Pollution?
Four years after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang declared a “war against pollution,” has the government delivered on its promises to improve air quality? Using daily data from more than 200 monitors across the country from 2013 to 2017, we find that China’s most populated areas have experienced remarkable improvements in air quality, ranging from 21 to 42 percent, with most meeting or exceeding the goals outlined in their National Air Quality Action Plan. If these reductions in pollution are sustained, the average Chinese citizen would see their life expectancy increase by 2.4 years relative to 2013. Although China faces a long road ahead to reach national and international air quality standards, these results suggest the country is winning its war on pollution.