Reduction in Air Pollution in China Left More Radicals Available to Produce Ozone

While concentrations of the pollutant PM 2.5 are decreasing in China as a result of regulations put in place in 2013, ground-level ozone pollution is increasing, found researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The team discovered that particulate matter acts like a sponge for the radicals needed to generate ozone pollution, sucking them up and preventing them from producing ozone.

“We haven’t observed this happening anywhere else because no other country has moved this quickly to reduce particulate matter emissions,” said Daniel Jacob, the Vasco McCoy Family Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and Environmental Engineering. “It took China four years to do what took 30 years in the U.S.”

Findings from the study indicate that additional measures need to be taken to reduce NOx and VOC emissions.

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