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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Jul 3;14(7). pii: E716. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14070716.

PM2.5, Population Exposure and Economic Effects in Urban Agglomerations of China Using Ground-Based Monitoring Data.

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College of Information Engineering, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China.
State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China.
Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China.


This paper adopts the PM2.5 concentration data obtained from 1497 station-based monitoring sites, population and gross domestic product (GDP) census data, revealing population exposure and economic effects of PM2.5 in four typical urban agglomerations of China, i.e., Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH), the Yangtze River delta (YRD), the Pearl River delta (PRD), and Chengdu-Chongqing (CC). The Cokriging interpolation method was used to estimate the PM2.5 concentration from station-level to grid-level. Next, an evaluation was conducted mainly at the grid-level with a cell size of 1 × 1 km, assisted by the urban agglomeration scale. Criteria including the population-weighted mean, the cumulative percent distribution and the correlation coefficient were applied in our evaluation. The results showed that the spatial pattern of population exposure in BTH was consistent with that of PM2.5 concentration, as well as changes in elevation. The topography was also an important factor in the accumulation of PM2.5 in CC. Moreover, the most polluted urban agglomeration based on the population-weighted mean was BTH, while the least was PRD. In terms of the cumulative percent distribution, only 0.51% of the population who lived in the four urban agglomerations, and 2.33% of the GDP that was produced in the four urban agglomerations, were associated with an annual PM2.5 concentration smaller than the Chinese National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 35 µg/m³. This indicates that the majority of people live in the high air polluted areas, and economic development contributes to air pollution. Our results are supported by the high correlation between population exposure and the corresponding GDP in each urban agglomeration.


fine particulate matter; population exposure; population-weighted mean; urban agglomeration

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