Modeling study of air pollution due to the manufacture of export goods in China's Pearl River Delta.


The Pearl River Delta is a major manufacturing region on the south coast of China that produces more than dollar 100 billion of goods annually for export to North America, Europe, and other parts of Asia. Considerable air pollution is caused by the manufacturing industries themselves and by the power plants, trucks, and ships that support them. We estimate that 10-40% of emissions of primary SO2, NO(x), RSP, and VOC in the region are caused by export-related activities. Using the STEM-2K1 atmospheric transport model, we estimate that these emissions contribute 5-30% of the ambient concentrations of SO2, NO(x), NO(z), and VOC in the region. One reason that the exported goods are cheap and therefore attractive to consumers in developed countries is that emission controls are lacking or of low performance. We estimate that state-of-the-art controls could be installed at an annualized cost of dollar 0.3-3 billion, representing 0.3-3% of the value of the goods produced. We conclude that mitigation measures could be adopted without seriously affecting the prices of exported goods and would achieve considerable human health and other benefits in the form of reduced air pollutant concentrations in densely populated urban areas.