breadcrumb

Taxi Drivers in China Have Highest PM2.5 Air Pollutant Exposure

Taxi Drivers in China Have Highest PM2.5 Air Pollutant Exposure

A study conducted by Greenpeace has revealed that taxi drivers suffer the greatest levels of exposure to PM2.5 air pollution: three times that of the average person, and five times the world standard.

The study, carried out by Greenpeace in partnership with the Beijing University School of Public Health, looked at four individuals: a child, an environmentalist, a taxi driver, and an outdoor enthusiast. The four individuals’ daily activity over twenty-four hours was recorded and their exposure to pollution was contrasted with China’s National Ambient Air Quality Standard. It showed that both the taxi driver and the athlete suffered levels of exposure higher than the national standard.

More worrying still was the comparison with the WHO’s guideline values on particulate matter: the taxi driver’s exposure to the levels of PM2.5 in Beijing’s air was equivalent to five times the standard set for mean exposure over a twenty-four-hour period, with the athlete exposed to six times the standard.

Within the report, Greenpeace indicated that it estimates atmospheric particulates to account for 3 percent of cardiovascular deaths in young people worldwide, as well as around 5 percent of deaths due to bronchitis and lung cancer, and around 1 percent of deaths due to acute respiratory infection.

Generally, the longer subjects spent outdoors, the greater the threat posed to their health by PM2.5 pollution, though staying indoors did not eliminate the exposure.

For taxi drivers, who come into more contact with car exhaust fumes, this effect is likely to be greater. As data cited in the Greenpeace report shows, long-term exposure to traffic pollution is an independent risk factor in the onset of coronary heart disease.

The hazards are even greater for those who take exercise in severely polluted air. An individual’s rate of pulmonary ventilation during periods of intense physical activity is ten to sixteen times the rate when at rest; the effect of air pollution on those who exercise outdoors is therefore especially high.

By Zhou Wei, an Assistant Editor in chinadialogue’s Beijing office. This article was first published by chinadialogue.

Share

Share/Save

Environment

05.19.16

Clear as Mud: How Poor Data is Thwarting Water Clean-Up

from chinadialogue
China’s central and local governments have barely made a start in trying to clean up the country’s heavily polluted water, despite fast-approaching deadlines for improvements and the launch of a comprehensive “ten point plan” over a year ago.Behind...

Environment

05.13.16

Why China's Nuclear Exports May Struggle to Find a Market

from chinadialogue
China’s nuclear power industry has eyed up a big push to export its technologies as countries around the world consider low-carbon alternatives to coal.But despite an increasingly clearer field for Chinese nuclear exports—mainly because of the woes...

Environment

04.20.16

Book: ‘Black Dragon River’—Russia’s Wild Window into China

from chinadialogue
Russia’s Far East is supposedly a strategically important area for President Vladimir Putin’s administration, with the government repeatedly declaring that development of the remote territory is one of its top priorities. But, as any Russian expert...