With rapid urbanization and energy consumption, environmental pollution and degradation have become increasingly serious problems in China. At the beginning of 2013, China implemented new ambient air quality standards (GB 3095-2012) in which the concentration of six pollutants including PM2.5, ozone, carbon monoxide, PM10, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide were monitored. This study gathered annual air pollutant concentration data for the six pollutants in 113 key environmental protection cites throughout China in 2014 and 2015 to explain spatial patterns of urban air pollution. Based on the Kernel density estimation method, spatial hotspots of air pollution were illustrated through which spatial cluster of each pollutants could be plotted. By employing an entropy evaluation system, urban air quality was assessed in terms of the six atmospheric pollutants. We conclude that, in general, CO and SO2 were two important pollutants in most Chinese cities, but this varied greatly among cities. The assessment results indicate that cities with the worst air quality were mainly located in northern and central provinces, dominantly in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei metropolitan area. Regression modeling showed that a combination of meteorological factors and human-related determinants, to say specifically, industrialization and urbanization factors, greatly influenced urban air quality variation in China. Results from spatial lag regression modeling confirmed that air pollution existed obvious spatial spillover effects among key cities. The spatial interdependence effects of urban air quality means that Chinese municipal governments should strengthen regional cooperation and deepen bilateral collaboration in terms of air regulation and pollution prevention.
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