Exploring the impacts of anthropogenic emission sectors on PM2.5 and human health in South and East Asia
To improve poor air quality in Asia and inform effective emission-reduction strategies, it is vital to understand the contributions of different pollution sources and their associated human health burdens. In this study, we use the WRF-Chem regional atmospheric model to explore the air quality and human health benefits of eliminating emissions from six different anthropogenic sectors (transport, industry, shipping, electricity generation, residential combustion, and open biomass burning) over South and East Asia in 2014. We evaluate WRF-Chem against measurements from air quality monitoring stations across the region and find the model captures the spatial distribution and magnitude of PM2.5 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of no greater than 2.5 µm). We find that eliminating emissions from residential energy use, industry, or open biomass burning yields the largest reductions in population-weighted PM2.5 concentrations across the region. The largest human health benefit is achieved by eliminating either residential or industrial emissions, averting 467 000 (95 % uncertainty interval (95UI): 409 000–542 000) or 283 000 (95UI: 226 000–358 000) annual premature mortalities, respectively, in India, China, and South-east Asia, with fire prevention averting 28 000 (95UI: 24 000–32 000) annual premature mortalities across the region. We compare our results to previous sector-specific emission studies. Across these studies, residential emissions are the dominant cause of particulate pollution in India, with a multi-model mean contribution of 42 % to population-weighted annual mean PM2.5. Residential and industrial emissions cause the dominant contributions in China, with multi-model mean contributions of 29 % for both sectors to population-weighted annual mean PM2.5. Future work should focus on identifying the most effective options within the residential, industrial, and open biomass-burning emission sectors to improve air quality across South and East Asia.