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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 40 No. 1, p. 37-45
    Received: Aug 14, 2010

    * Corresponding author(s): liu310@cau.edu.cn
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Impacts of Pollution Controls on Air Quality in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games

  1. Jianlin Shenae,
  2. Aohan Tanga,
  3. Xuejun Liu *ab,
  4. Jenny Kopschc,
  5. Andreas Fangmeierc,
  6. Keith Gouldingd and
  7. Fusuo Zhanga
  1. a College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural Univ., Beijing 100193, China
    e current address: Institute of Subtropical Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changsha 410125, China. Assigned to Associate Editor Sean McGinn
    b Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geology, CAS
    c Institute for Landscape and Plant Ecology, Univ. of Hohenheim, 70593 Stuttgart, Germany
    d Dep. of Soil Science, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Herts, AL5 2JQ, UK


Air pollution has become one of the main environmental concerns in China since the 1980s due to China's rapid economic growth and resultant pollution. However, it is difficult to directly evaluate the anthropogenic contribution to air pollution in China. The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing provided a unique opportunity for testing the contribution of anthropogenic pollution because of the clean-up controls on air quality in Beijing enforced over the period of the Games. In this case study, we monitored the concentrations of major air pollutants before, during, and after the Olympics at a suburban site in Beijing. Atmospheric concentrations of PM10, PM2.5, NH3, NO2, SO2, and the particulate ions NH4 +, NO3 , SO4 2−, Ca2+, Mg2+, and K+ all decreased during the Olympic period because of strict emission controls, compared with the same period from 2005 to 2007. For example, the average PM10 concentration (61 μg m−3) during the Olympics was only 37% of that (166 μg m−3) in the same month (August) from 2005 to 2007. However, just 1 mo and 1 yr after the Games had ended, mean concentrations of these pollutants had increased significantly again. This rapid “recovery” of air pollutant concentrations after the Olympics suggests that China needs to implement long-lasting decreases in its air pollution in Beijing and other major cities.

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