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China Reduced Air Pollution in 7 Years as Much as US Did in Three Decades

  • Poor air quality reduces life expectancy more than smoking
  • Bangladesh, India among world’s most polluted countries

China has reduced air pollution nearly as much in seven years as the US did in three decades, helping to bring down average global smog levels in the process.

The amount of harmful particulates in the air in China fell 40% from 2013 to 2020, according to the University of Chicago’s Energy Policy Institute, which would add about two years to average life expectancy if sustained. While smog in large swathes of the country still significantly exceeds safe levels, its experience shows how quickly progress can be made, researchers including Professor Michael Greenstone said in a report published Tuesday.