Mitigating air pollution benefits multiple sustainable development goals in China

Environ Pollut. 2024 May 15:349:123992. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2024.123992. Epub 2024 Apr 15.


Achieving the United nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) remains a significant challenge, necessitating urgent and prioritized strategies. Among the various challenges, air pollution continues to pose one of the most substantial threats to the SDGs due to its widespread adverse effects on human health and ecosystems. However, the connections between air pollution and the SDGs have often been overlooked. This study reveals that out of the 169 SDG targets, 71 are adversely impacted by air pollution, while only 6 show potential positive effects. In China, two major atmospheric nitrogen pollutants, ammonia and nitrogen oxides, resulted in an economic loss of 400 billion United States Dollar (USD) in 2020, which could be reduced by 33% and 34% by 2030, respectively. It would enhance the progress towards SDGs in China by 14%, directly contributing to the achievement of SDGs 1 to 6 and 11 to 15. This improvement is estimated to yield overall benefits totaling 119 billion USD, exceeded the total implementation cost of 82 billion USD with ammonia as the preferential mitigation target. This study underscores the importance of robust scientific evidence in integrated policies aimed at aligning improvements in environmental quality with the priorities of sustainable development.

Keywords: Ammonia; Mitigation measures; Nitrogen oxides; Sustainable development goals.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants* / analysis
  • Air Pollution* / prevention & control
  • Ammonia / analysis
  • China
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Nitrogen Oxides / analysis
  • Sustainable Development*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Ammonia
  • Nitrogen Oxides