Asian Development Bank hires Ricardo for air quality research in China

03 January 2018 3 min. read
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The Asian Development Bank has commissioned Ricardo Energy & Environment to carry out research into air quality in three Chinese case-study cities. The studies are aimed at helping policy makers with their environmental planning.

The impact of air pollution on human health is not yet fully understood, however, a wide range of negative impacts are recorded, from stunted growth in children to premature death. Reducing, where possible, peoples’ exposure to harmful chemicals, improves their individual lives as well as impacts on wider society, creating incentives for individuals to support governments that reduce air pollution where possible. The diesel vehicle emission fraud of Volkswagen, which became major headlines in 2017, for instance were found to cost society nearly €30 billion worth of damages.

One country that is struggling with air quality issues is China – its largest cities are blighted by sustained levels of air pollution, according to measurements well in excess of international and national guidelines. As a result, Chinese authorities are seeking to move away from the major causes of air pollution in main centres – key long-term pillars reducing the dependence on coal, increasing the fleet of electric vehicles and the share of car sharing within China’s rapidly growing car market and tackling dust and other key factors of pollution generation.
 Asian Development Bank hires Ricardo for air quality audit in China

As part of the China’s bid to tackle over-pollution, global engineering consultancy Ricardo Energy & Environment has been commissioned by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to investigate the problem in key Chinese cities and consider solutions. The consulting firm, which is specialised in sustainability and environmental services, has built up significant experience in the space, including projects in Europe, Asia and the UK. Ricardo will work with Tsinghua University and Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning on the project.

The engagement involves the use of Ricardo’s RapidAir system to develop a cost-benefit analysis of and health impact assessment of the main areas of pollution in major centres. The consultancy firm is working with officials from three of the most polluted cities in China, focused on investigating possible air quality improvement measures. The results may form part of the background from which policy makers can draw to make decisions regarding air quality and public health outcomes, and in particular, could influence air quality management plans to 2030.

Tim Curtis, Ricardo Energy & Environment’s Managing Director said, “Ricardo is delighted to be working closely with the Asian Development Bank and city environmental protection teams on this strategically important project. We look forward to being at the forefront of air quality policy development in China.”

Ben Grebot, Ricardo’s project director on the engagement, added, “Environmental protection officers in north-east China are at the forefront of tackling some of the toughest air pollution problems in the world. The Asian Development Bank’s commitment to investing in air quality improvements enables us to bring our air quality policy and modelling expertise to work alongside the city bureaux and national experts to deliver real air quality benefits.”