Ten years ago, Beijing was notorious for its severe air pollution, commonly referred to as "air-pocalypse." In response, China initiated a multibillion-dollar campaign to combat pollution. A decade later, the efforts have resulted in a 42% reduction in pollution levels since 2013, according to a report by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. This improvement has also extended the average lifespan of Chinese citizens by 2.2 years. While Chinese cities used to top the list of the world's most polluted places, many have now been overtaken by cities in South Asia and the Middle East. Despite the progress, China remains the world's 13th most polluted country, and its particulate pollution levels still significantly exceed WHO guidelines. The report credits the success to political will and resources, highlighting measures like limiting the number of cars in cities, banning new coal plants in polluted areas, and reducing emissions from existing plants.
Photo Credit: Markus Spiske