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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering >> 2015, Volume 9, Issue 6 doi: 10.1007/s11783-015-0796-8

Development of an integrated policy making tool for assessing air quality and human health benefits of air pollution control

1. Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Environment and Pollution Control, College of Environment and Energy, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou Higher Education Mega Center, Guangzhou 510006, China.2. USEPA/Office of Air Quality Planning & Standards, RTP, NC 27711, USA.3. Department of Civil Engineering, Lamar University, Beaumont, TX 77710-0024, USA.4. State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.5. Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-2010, USA

Accepted: 2015-06-18 Available online: 2015-11-23

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Efficient air quality management is critical to protect public health from the adverse impacts of air pollution. To evaluate the effectiveness of air pollution control strategies, the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has developed the Software for Model Attainment Test-Community Edition (SMAT-CE) to assess the air quality attainment of emission reductions, and the Environmental Benefits Mapping and Analysis Program-Community Edition (BenMAP-CE) to evaluate the health and economic benefits of air quality improvement respectively. Since scientific decision-making requires timely and coherent information, developing the linkage between SMAT-CE and BenMAP-CE into an integrated assessment platform is desirable. To address this need, a new module linking SMAT-CE to BenMAP-CE has been developed and tested. The new module streamlines the assessment of air quality and human health benefits for a proposed air pollution control strategy. It also implements an optimized data gridding algorithm which significantly enhances the computational efficiency without compromising accuracy. The performance of the integrated software package is demonstrated through a case study that evaluates the air quality and associated economic benefits of a national-level control strategy of PM . The results of the case study show that the proposed emission reduction reduces the number of nonattainment sites from 379 to 25 based on the US National Ambient Air Quality Standards, leading to more than US$334 billion of economic benefits annually from improved public health. The integration of the science-based software tools in this study enhances the efficiency of developing effective and optimized emission control strategies for policy makers.

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