Studies on the perception of air pollution in China are very limited. The aim of this paper is to help to fill this gap by analyzing a cross-sectional dataset of 759 residents of the Jinchuan mining area, Gansu Province, China. The estimations suggest that perception of air pollution is two-dimensional. The first dimension is the perceived intensity of air pollution and the second is the perceived hazardousness of the pollutants. Both dimensions are influenced by environmental knowledge. Perceived intensity is furthermore influenced by socio-economic status and proximity to the pollution source; perceived hazardousness is influenced by socio-economic status, family health experience, family size and proximity to the pollution source. There are no reverse effects from perception on environmental knowledge. The main conclusion is that virtually all Jinchuan residents perceive high intensity and hazardousness of air pollution despite the fact that public information on air pollution and its health impacts is classified to a great extent. It is suggested that, to assist the residents to take appropriate preventive action, the local government should develop counseling and educational campaigns and institutionalize disclosure of air quality conditions. These programs should pay special attention to young residents who have limited knowledge of air pollution in the Jinchuan mining area.
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