Lewis Brown is Digital Communications Manager at the Centre for Policy Studies
Record levels of air pollution meant the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau was forced to close factories, curb car use and suggest that children stay indoors on Friday. It was just the latest in a series of worrying smog incidents that plague Asia’s rising superpower. But this is not just an environmental disaster. A little known particle within the polluted air called PM2.5 was responsible for 3.2 million deaths in 2010, including 1.2 million in China, according to Institute of Health Studies figures.
PM2.5 refers to particulate matter 2.5 microns or smaller, microscopic dust particles created directly from burning fuel but also by secondary chemical reactions from emitted sulphur and nitrous oxides (SOx and NOx).