The Toxic side of China

Discussion in 'China' started by Daredevil, Sep 18, 2009.

  1. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    China's "cancer villages" bear witness to economic boom

    Wed Sep 16, 2009 8:25pm EDT
    By Tan Ee Lyn

    [​IMG]A lake near Da Bao Shan in the northern part of China's Guangdong province turns reddish brown after the water was contaminated for years August 27, 2009. It is highly unusual for people to contract cancer at tender ages, but not in the villages around Da Bao Shan, one of China's largest mine that produces lead, zine, cadmium and other heavy metals.


    Asia Health Correspondent

    HONG KONG (Reuters) - One needs to look no further then the river that runs through Shangba to understand the extent of the heavy metals pollution that experts say has turned the hamlets in this region of southern China into cancer villages.

    The river's flow ranges from murky white to a bright shade of orange and the waters are so viscous that they barely ripple in the breeze. In Shangba, the river brings death, not sustenance.

    "All the fish died, even chickens and ducks that drank from the river died. If you put your leg in the water, you'll get rashes and a terrible itch," said He Shuncai, a 34-year-old rice farmer who has lived in Shangba all his life.

    "Last year alone, six people in our village died from cancer and they were in their 30s and 40s."

    Cancer casts a shadow over the villages in this region of China in southern Guangdong province, nestled among farmland contaminated by heavy metals used to make batteries, computer parts and other electronics devices.

    Every year, an estimated 460,000 people die prematurely in China due to exposure to air and water pollution, according to a 2007 World Bank study.

    Yun Yaoshun's two granddaughters died at the ages of 12 and 18, succumbing to kidney and stomach cancer even though these types of cancers rarely affect children. The World Health Organization has suggested that the high rate of such digestive cancers are due to the ingestion of polluted water.

    "It's because of Daboshan and the dirty water," said the 82-year-old grandmother. "The girls were always playing in the river, even our well water is contaminated," Yun told Reuters during a visit to the village.

    The river where the children played stretches from the bottom of the Daboshan mine, owned by state-owned Guangdong Dabaoshan Mining Co Ltd, past the ramshackle family home. Its waters are contaminated by cadmium, lead, indium and zinc and other metals.

    The villagers use well water in Shangba for drinking but tests published by BioMed Central in July show that it contains excessive amounts of cadmium, a heavy metal that is a known carcinogen, as well as zinc which in large quantities can damage the liver and lead to cancer.

    "China has many 'cancer villages' and it is very likely that these increased cases of cancer are due to water pollution," said Edward Chan, an official with Greenpeace in southern China.

    But it's not just water, the carcinogenic heavy metals are also entering the food chain.

    Mounds of tailings from mineral mining are discarded alongside paddy fields throughout the region.

    "If you test this rice, it will be toxic but we eat it too, otherwise, we will starve," said He, the farmer, as he shoveled freshly milled rice into a sack. "Yes, we sell this rice too."

    NO HEALTH CARE

    Few families in the villages downstream from the Daboshan mine have been left untouched by cancer.

    The most common cancers are those of the stomach, liver, kidney and colon, accounting for about 85 percent of cancers. Cancer incidence rates in these villages are not available, but rights groups say they are far higher than the national average.

    "In southern China, where communities depend largely from ponds or lakes for drinking water, the rates of digestive system cancer are very high," said a report 'Environment and People's Health in China', published by the World Health Organization and United Nations Development Programme in 2001.

    Across China, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of small, anonymous villages that are suffering the consequences of the country's rapid economic expansion, villages with rates and types of cancers that experts say can only be due to pollution.

    This may be the fate of more and more of China's population as mines and factories spew out tens of millions of tonnes of pollution every year, into the water system as well as the air, to produce the fruits of China's economic growth.

    Death rates from cancer rose 19 percent in cities and 23 percent in rural areas in 2006, compared to 2005, according to official Chinese media, although they did not give exact figures.

    The health burden has an economic price. The cost of cancer treatment has reached almost 100 billion yuan a year ($14.6 billion), accounting for 20 percent of China's medical expenditure, according to Chinese media.

    NO COMPENSATION

    The lack of a national health system means that most of the victims must pay their medical bills themselves.

    Healthcare costs took up 50 percent of household income in China in 2006 due to inadequate health insurance, according to a paper published in the Lancet in October 2008.

    China does not have a comprehensive state healthcare system and more than 80 percent of farmers have no medical insurance at all, although there are plans for sweeping reforms so that by 2011, most of the population will have basic medical coverage.

    The residents of so called cancer villages, meanwhile, struggle to fund their medical care, often going into debt to pay crippling pharmaceutical and doctors' bills.

    "An official did come to give me our compensation, 20 yuan ($2.93)," said Liang Xiti, whose husband died of stomach cancer at the age of 46. His medicines alone cost the family 800 yuan a month, she said.

    Zhang Jingjing, a lawyer who is helping the villagers, said the local mine has promised to distribute a few thousands yuan to all the villagers every year.

    Even though the funds will barely cover medical expenses, Zhang says it is an encouraging first step.

    "This means the mine admits it is polluting the environment. If it did no wrong, it won't give out this money."
     
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  3. Martian

    Martian Respected Member Senior Member

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    The story sounds an awful lot like Love Canal in the U.S. See Love Canal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    It's a tragedy that people have to die first before it draws the media attention and public pressure for a clean-up effort.
     
  4. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Lead poisoning sickens nearly 1,000 kids in China

    By TINI TRAN, Associated Press Writer
    1 hr 18 mins ago

    BEIJING – Nearly 1,000 children in a central Chinese province have tested positive for excessive lead in their blood, state media reported Tuesday, the latest of several lead poisoning cases involving thousands of children across the country.

    After reports of large-scale lead poisoning in neighboring Shaanxi province, the health bureau in Jiyuan City, Henan province, conducted blood tests on 2,743 children under the age of 14, the official Xinhua News Agency quoted the bureau's director, Wei Zongchang, as saying.

    Signs of lead poisoning were found in 968 of the children who live near three major lead smelters, Xinhua said.

    China's rapid economic development has often come at the cost of heavy environmental pollution. Lead poisoning can damage the nervous and reproductive systems and cause high blood pressure and memory loss.
    Similar reports of lead poisoning have emerged in Yunnan, Fujian and Shaanxi provinces in recent months, and the number of affected children is now past 3,000.

    Anger in China is growing over public safety scandals in which children have been the main victims — a concern for the ruling Communist Party, which is concerned about social stability and any challenges to its authority.
    Last month, residents of the village of Shibin in Jiyuan City demonstrated in front of the factories to protest the pollution, Xinhua said.

    Jiyuan Mayor Zhao Suping told Xinhua the city's lead poisoning is the result of long-term pollution. The city has been producing lead for 52 years, he said.
    Yang Anguo, the head of China's largest lead producer, Yuguang Gold and Lead Group, told Xinhua: "We do bear responsibility for the pollution. Some pollution has accumulated over the past 20 years or more, and the plant is too near homes."

    In response to the test results, city officials have suspended production at 32 of 35 electrolytic lead plants and shut down some production lines at the other three major plants, Duan Xizhong, head of the local Communist Party committee, told Xinhua.

    Families with children living within 1,000 yards (meters) of the smelters have been moved away.
     
  5. bengalraider

    bengalraider DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    This is the flipside of fast growth in china, along with sweatshops and the widespread destruction of ancient archaeological and cultural areas( example- the old city of Beijing almost completely demolished for the Olympics). the Chinese have now started to realize the price they as a people will have to pay(and are in some cases already paying) in terms of lost childhoods, youth and more importantly in terms of their lost history in order to leapfrog to the position of the richest country on earth,they can try to arrest this but now it may already be too late.
     
  6. qilaotou

    qilaotou Regular Member

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    Yeah it's terrible consequence of greedy capitalist mentality and ignorance of Chinese government. Hope other countries won't repeat the same mistakes.
     
  7. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Pollution in China - Pictures

    October 14, 2009, the 30th annual awards ceremony of the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund took place at the Asia Society in New York City. Lu Guang (卢广) from People’s Republic of China won the $30,000 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography for his documentary project “Pollution in China.”

    Lu Guang (卢广), freelancer photographer, started as an amateur photographer in 1980. He was a factory worker, later started his own photo studio and advertising agency. August of 1993 he returned to post-graduate studies at the Central Arts and Design Academy in Beijing (now is the Academy of Arts and Design, Tsinghua University). During graduate school, he studied, traveled all over the country and carved out a career, became the “dark horse” of the photographer circle in Beijing. Skilled at social documentary photography, his insightful, creative and artistic work often focused on “social phenomena and people living at the bottom of society”, attracted the attentions of the national photography circle and the media. Many of his award winning works focused on social issues like, “gold rush in the west”, “drug girl”, “small coal pit”, “HIV village”, “the Grand Canal”, “development of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway” and so on.


    Some pictures


    [​IMG]
    “At the junction of Ningxia province and Inner Mongolia province, I saw a tall chimney puffing out golden smoke covering the blue sky, large tracts of the grassland have become industrial waste dumps; unbearable foul smell made people want to cough; Surging industrial sewage flowed into the Yellow River…”


    [​IMG]
    Henan Anyang iron and steel plant’s (河南安阳钢铁厂) sewage flowed into Anyang River. March 25, 2008


    [​IMG]
    Guiyu, Guangdong province, (广东省贵屿镇) rivers and reservoirs have been contaminated, the villager is washing in a seriously polluted pond. November 25, 2005


    [​IMG]
    In Ma’anshan, Anhui province (安徽马鞍山), along the Yangtze River there are many small-scaled Iron selection factories and plastic processing plants. Large amounts of sewage discharged into the Yangtze River June 18, 2009


    [​IMG]
    Shanxi Province is the most polluted areas of China. It is also the province with the highest rate of birth defects. This loving farmer couple adopted 17 disabled children. April 15, 2009

    “In Some areas of China people’s lives were threatened because of the environmental pollution. Residents suffering from all kinds of obscured diseases, the cancer villages, increase of deformed babies, these were the results of sacrificing environment and blindly seeking economical gain.”



    More devastating pictures of China can be found here

    Amazing Pictures, Pollution in China | ChinaHush
     
  8. IBRIS

    IBRIS Senior Member Senior Member

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    Are you going to China? Then I will tell you pollution in China is very serious. The Chinese and government official's environmental protection consciousness is very low. The Chinese industry economy increases quickly; pollution grows more serious more; and the great majority of Chinese are insensitive to the pollution. This is a Chinese, as well as, global disaster in the making.

    Car and motorcycle traffic is increasing greatly. The population in China is multitudinous"1300000000".is five times as the population of the US. China is short of cultivated land. in spite of this case,The Chinese government is developing the private car industry greatly, new highway construction will take up large areas of land. Traffic accidents increased greatly. In 2005 200,000 people died in traffic accidents in China.

    Building development is in mass confusion. Building technique is primitive and building in consuming large amounts of materials. In 2003 China poured 44% of the world's cement. Building a house will consume more amounts of cement brick and decorative colorful brick in China than The Western Nation. But these houses make little use of insulation letting heat flow out in the winter and letting the heat in during the hot summer months. House repairs are more difficult, too.chinese concerns beauty of own house very much,but chinese don't concern about environment around the house. They spend large money on their own house, but they are stingy in cost of the environment around their house.

    Garbage removal is primitive. Chinese don't know Garbage classification.waste plastic bags is visible everywhere. The Chinese people like to use plastic bags and batteries just once and then throw them away. China's government pay great attention to beauty of city. They spend large amount of money in images structure of city, But they pay little attention to garbage classification. Large amounts of garbage is made by large consumption.

    River is polluted by chemical fertilizer, pesticide, herbicides, chemicals synthetic detergent(washing powders), industry waste water, human excrement and urine, garbage. Waste water excrement and urine flow directly into river without any sanitation practices. Most rivers in china is unsuitable for drinking. Many chinese people are harmed by drinking water in polluted river.

    Education in protecting environment is blank. People's understanding and concept of protecting the environment is quite low. China's people are poor, but they are not frugal. Chinese are concerned with beauty of there houses, but don't concerned the beauty of environment, Chinese are concerned about their own health but don't care about environmental health. They like to inject and swallow more medicines, eat more wild animals, but they don't realize that the polluted food, water and air is threatening their health greatly.

    China is imitating the West's high pattern of consumerism. Chinese hope per a people owning private car and Motorcycle, living big and big house. Consuming large power source as Western nations do. The Chinese government is making effort to realize this aim. China is producing large cars and motorcycles, large cement and brick. Exploiting large coal mines and oil fields, large ore mines. Building large multi-story buildings and huge highway construction patterns. Enlarging blindly more and more area of cities and towns land. Large areas of land are damaged by the exploitation of natural resources.

    The population in China is multitudinous, 1.3 billion(perhaps 1.4or1.5 billion)people, five times the population of the US. China is short of cultivated land. Their actual situation demands that China doesn't imitate the West's high consumption. China should develop electronic information consumption. Should develop economizing energy industries. If not, the Chinese would ruin their own environment, in further more, affect the global environment.

    The Chinese don't realize that pollution is their most dangerous enemy.
     
  9. IBRIS

    IBRIS Senior Member Senior Member

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    The polluted Huangchuan's river here is black, covered with floating bubbles (foam), stinks, and there are no fish in it. A large amount of livestock and poultry excrement flows into China's rivers without treatment. Large breeding livestock and poultry waste is just discharged into the river almost without any treatment, causing widespread pollution.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    Sad to see these, shame on us! Hope these will not happen in other countries
     
  11. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    Why shame? It is good that you are progressing if somebody has to get through hell so be it it's good. Plain economy huh
     
  12. no smoking

    no smoking Senior Member Senior Member

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    Yes, it is good to see the economic progress. But it is still to see the consequence of the initial industrilization, especially when our children will pay for this today and future.

    Even though I know this is inevitable in industrilization, I still hope the chinese gov and public will take the problem more seriously.
     
  13. sky

    sky Regular Member

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    when ever there has been a rapid rise in ecconomic output ,a big rise in pollution usually follows.It happened during the indutrial revolution in britian and is almost to occur when a huge rise in ecconomic output happens.

    You could call it a side effect of ecconomic growth,india should learn from the mistakes china has made so the same does not happen in india.However with growth comes wealth and people develop aspirations which will increase environmental pollution.
     
  14. StealthSniper

    StealthSniper Senior Member Senior Member

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    YouTube - BBC News - China's Grime Belt Air Pollution Extreme


    Very good thread Daredevil. I think the environment is a very important issue and If we don't act fast we will suffer later. Even though China is a major contributor to pollution in the world it's not the only one. Many countries pollute and damage rivers and forest and they just aren't held accountable for their actions.

    India also is not immune to this. India is growing and we just aren't strict enough when it comes to protecting our rivers, air and natural resources. India can set an example to make other countries like China and USA jealous but we need to be proactive now. We need rules and regulations for large companies in India and we also need to get rid of the old crappy cars and transport that should have been extinct in the 1960's.
     
  15. StealthSniper

    StealthSniper Senior Member Senior Member

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  16. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    No one likes your sarcasm here.

    We feel shame because we have made mistakes and we feel terribly sorry that people are suffering from those mistakes.

    Anyway, hope India can do better than us.
     
  17. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    Well sarcasm comes from repetition chants of economy for getting away from any argument. Check the forum you will find enough examples from your comrades :)
     
  18. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    What is the problem with that some are dying let them die for economy's sake keep the rate high why should care for those? If some plants have to be closed then what will happen to those who are earning from it?
     
  19. bengalraider

    bengalraider DFI Technocrat Stars and Ambassadors

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    India will do better , reason: we have a free media that shall shout from the rooftops at the first sign of such criminal neglect, not to mention NGO's that have dedicated their whole lives to (sometimes wrongly) stopping large government projects that have even a small chance of harming the environment.

    any authoritarian system (communism or fascism)works fast and delivers fast; but does not care for the consequences as the people making decisions are not responsible to the common man, however in a democracy they are held responsible hence they have to be that much more careful.
     
  20. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    Can i take what you said as Inida has already done a fabulous job in environment protection while still keep on the growth of economy?
    Honestly, i doubt that, because I don't see that. Although the environment situation in India is not as bad as in China, the pollution caused by industry in India is also very serious.

    So before laughing at us, take care of yourself first.
     
  21. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    nimo please check the carbon credits of India this shall give you the answer
     

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