Chinese metropolises’ air quality management performance assessment report

The “Performance Assessment Report – Air Quality Management of Metropolises in China” was drawn up by Professor Song Guojun and Professor Ma Zhong. This report examines the status of air quality and its patterns of evolution (2005-2010) in 281 Chinese cities (above prefecture level).

Results show that, generally, cities seen to have good air quality accounted for 10.67% of the total; those with poor air quality accounted for 75.80%.  There were 13.52% of the 281 cities that had air of extremely poor quality. Yangjiang (阳江), Huangshan (黄山) and Maoming (茂名) are examples of cities with good air quality; these cities normally have a low level of economic development. In terms of GDP these three cities are ranked 136, 159 and 144 out of the 218 cities. Cities with poor air quality include Liaoyuan, Lanzhou, Wuhan, Urumqi, Beijing, Nanjing, Xi’an, etc.

The report also included ​​a questionnaire asking resident about their opinion of the air quality. The result shows that 46.02% of the respondents are dissatisfied with their current air quality, but there are also 71.26% of the respondents who think that air quality has improved significantly in comparison to previous years.

More details of this report can be found in the “China Environmental Economics Database”(, where it can be consulted and downloaded.



Chi-Han Ai

Ph.D. candidate of EHESS ( École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris) focusing on regional economic development in China and Taiwan.

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