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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 306;

Taking Action on Air Pollution Control in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) Region: Progress, Challenges and Opportunities

Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands
Chinese National Environmental Monitoring Center, Beijing 100012, China
School of Public Administration, Hebei University of Economics and Business, Shijiazhuang 050061, China
School of Interdisciplinary Area Studies, University of Oxford, Oxford OX2 6LH, UK
Institute of Occupational Medicine, Edinburgh EH14 4AP, UK
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 January 2018 / Revised: 23 January 2018 / Accepted: 29 January 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Due to rapid urbanization, industrialization and motorization, a large number of Chinese cities are affected by heavy air pollution. In order to explore progress, remaining challenges, and sustainability of air pollution control in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) region after 2013, a mixed method analysis was undertaken. The quantitative analysis comprised an overview of air quality management in the BTH region. Semi-structured expert interviews were conducted with 12 stakeholders from various levels of government and research institutions who played substantial roles either in decision-making or in research and advising on air pollution control in the BTH region. The results indicated that with the stringent air pollution control policies, the air quality in BTH meets the targets of the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan. However, improvements vary across the region and for different pollutants. Although implementation has been decisive and was at least in parts effectively enforced, significant challenges remained with regard to industrial and traffic emission control, and national air quality limits continued to be significantly exceeded and competing development interests remained mainly unsolved. There were also concerns about the sustainability of the current air pollution control measures especially for industries due to the top-down enforcement, and the associated large burden of social cost including unemployment and social inequity resulting industrial restructuring. Better mechanisms for ensuring cross-sectoral coordination and for improved central-local government communication were suggested. Further suggestions were provided to improve the conceptual design and effective implementation of respective air pollution control strategies in BTH. Our study highlights some of the major hurdles that need to be addressed to succeed with a comprehensive air pollution control management for the Chinese mega-urban agglomerations. View Full-Text
Keywords: air pollution; Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei; air pollution prevention and control action plan; semi-structured interview air pollution; Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei; air pollution prevention and control action plan; semi-structured interview

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Wang, L.; Zhang, F.; Pilot, E.; Yu, J.; Nie, C.; Holdaway, J.; Yang, L.; Li, Y.; Wang, W.; Vardoulakis, S.; Krafft, T. Taking Action on Air Pollution Control in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) Region: Progress, Challenges and Opportunities. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 306.

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