Atmospheric PM2.5 pollution has become a global issue, and is increasingly being associated with social unrest. As a resource reliant local economy and heavy industry cluster, the North China region has become China's greatest emitter, and the source of much pollution spillover to outside regions. To address this issue, the current study investigates the transfers of embodied PM2.5 emissions to and from the North China region (which is taken to include Hebei, Henan, Shandong, and Shanxi, and is referred to here as HHSS). The study uses a top-down pollutant emission inventory and environmentally extended multi-regional input-output (EE-MRIO) model. The results indicate that the HHSS area exported a total of 660 Gg of embodied PM2.5 to other domestic provinces, mainly producing outflows to China's central coastal area (Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Shanghai) and the Beijing-Tianjin region. HHSS also imported 224 Gg of embodied PM2.5 from other domestic regions, primarily from Inner Mongolia and the northeast. Furthermore, the transfer of embodied emissions often occurred between geographically adjacent areas to save costs; Beijing and Tianjin mainly transferred embodied pollution to Hebei and Shanxi, whilst Jiangsu, Shanghai, and Zhejiang tended to import embodied air pollutants from Shandong and Henan. At the sectoral level, the melting and pressing of metals, the production of non-metallic products, and electric and heat power production were the three dominant economic sectors for PM2.5 emissions, together accounting for 81% of total discharges. Capital formation played a key role in outflows (75%) in all sectors. Moreover, the virtual pollutant emissions exported to foreign countries also significantly affected HHSS′ discharges significantly, making up 340 Gg. Allocating responsibility for some proportion of HHSS′ emissions to the Beijing-Tianjin area and the central coastal provinces may be an effective approach for mitigating releases in HHSS.
Environmental Pollution – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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