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Net effect of air pollution controls on health risk in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei region during the 2022 winter Olympics and Paralympics

Xiang Qian Lao , Changqing Lin , Peter K.K. Louie , Alexis K.H. Lau , Jimmy C.H. Fung , Zibing Yuan , Minghui Tao , Xuguo Zhang , Md. Shakhaoat Hossain , Chengcai Li


Received July 19, 2022,Revised , Accepted October 07, 2022, Available online October 23, 2022

Volume 36,2024,Pages 560-569

Due to the non-linearity in ozone (O3) formation, reducing the emission of nitrogen oxides (NOx) may increase O3 concentration. Given the counteractive O3 response to NOx reduction, overall impact of air pollution controls can be ambiguous when the assessments focus on the changes in pollutant concentrations. In this study, a risk-based method was used to gauge the net effect of air pollution controls on mortality risk in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (BTH) region during the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics (WOP). This mega-event presents a unique opportunity to investigate the efficacy of deep cuts in pollutant emissions. Results show that O3 concentrations greatly increased as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations decreased in the BTH. Due to the active photochemical formations, O3 became the dominant pollutant that affected human health during the WOP. Despite the substantial O3 increases, the health benefits of NO2 reductions overwhelmed the adverse health effects of O3 increases in most regions of the BTH (at 81 out of 112 stations). After considering the impacts of particulate matter, the integrated health risk of air pollution mixtures declined almost everywhere in the BTH. Our results underscore the great necessity of changing the assessment paradigm of pollution control from using concentration-based methods to using risk-based methods. Together with the carbon neutrality policy, stringent control of NOx emission from combustion sources is a promising way to achieve synergistic control solutions for air pollution and climate change.

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