BEIJING / SHANGHAI (Good Medical) – China could increase the average life expectancy by 2.9 years if it improves air quality to the levels recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). ), according to a new study from an American research group.

PHOTO FILE – A fireplace is seen in front of residential buildings during a polluted day in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China on January 21, 2016. Good Medical / Stringer / File Photo

China is committed to determining the precise impact of air and water pollution on health as part of its efforts to increase the expectation of health and safety. average life at 79 years of age by 2030, compared with 76.3 years in 2015.

According to the University of Chicago's Energy Policy Institute (EPIC), significant improvements in air quality over the last five years have already been sufficient to increase average life.

"China is winning its war against pollution … (the country) should see dramatic improvements in the general health of its population, including a longer life, if these improvements are maintained", said the director of the EPIC, Michael Greenstone, at an event in Beijing on Thursday.

According to the findings of the EPIC, the improvement in air quality over the last five years in the city of Tianjin, in the north of the country, exposed to smog, would have already increased the average life of its 13 million inhabitants of 1.2 years.

China has reduced the average concentrations of PM2.5 hazardous particles to an average of 39 micrograms per cubic meter last year, down 9.3% from 2017 after a campaign to reduce the number of PM2.5 particles. use of coal and to improve the standards of the industry and vehicles.

However, the average emission levels remain significantly higher than the Chinese standard of 35 micrograms, as well as the limit of 10 micrograms recommended by WHO. In northern industrial regions, average concentrations are much higher.

In a study quoted by the Xinhua News Agency on Friday, a group of Chinese experts in the health field identified air and water pollution as the ## 147 ## 39, one of the main health risks in China over the next 20 years, alongside obesity, depression and Alzheimer's disease.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang declared "war" on pollution in 2014, fearing that the damage to the country's environment as a result of more than 30 years of unhindered economic growth would lead to social unrest.

However, with the bulk of the means at hand already in use and the slowdown in the economy, China has admitted that the campaign was under pressure.

"It would be very difficult for China to meet WHO standards, even with great efforts to reduce industrial emissions and the consumption of fossil fuels," said Jiang Kejun, a professor at the Institute of Medicine. Research Energy (Energy Research Institute), Good Medical. Thursday event.

"Emissions from non-industrial sectors, such as agriculture, also play an important role in air pollution and are difficult to control," he said.

(This version corrects the acronym for the Energy Policy Institute of the University of Chicago for EPIC, and not for EPI, at paragraphs 3, 4, and 5)

Reportage of Muyu Xu and David Stanway; Edited by Joseph Radford