02/05/2015, 00.00
CHINA
Send to a friend

China, smog kills more than cigarettes

A study by Greenpeace and the University of Beijing analyzes the environmental situation of 31 provincial capitals and municipalities. In one year, more than 257 thousand premature deaths, an average of 90/100 every 100 thousand deaths. The situation of the country "even worse", given that the study was not able to include some of the most polluted areas of the "industrial world".

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Environmental pollution in China kills more than smoking cigarettes: in 2013 it resulted in 257 thousand premature deaths in 31 provincial capitals and municipalities of the country. This is an average of 90 victims per 100 thousand dead, a huge number compared to other causes of death. The statistics increase in 12 of 31 cities under consideration: in Shijiazhuang, Nanjing, Tianjin and Chongqing it touches 100 deaths per 100 thousand.

This was revealed by a joint study between Greenpeace and the University of Beijing, which focused on deaths caused by micro-particles contained in the vaporous industrial waste. The main cause of the blanket of smog is in fact PM 2.5 (Airborne dust particulate matter 2.5 micrograms per cubic meter) caused by industrial production and intensified by the arrival of winter. The cold brings with it the ignition of millions of central heating systems and radiators, which in turn increase coal consumption in power plants.

The statistics recorded, denounce experts, represent a "substantial increase" compared to data related to smoking, recorded in 2012, which stop at 70 deaths per 100 thousand. Furthermore, "the true dimensions of the problem may be even greater, given that the most polluted cities were not included in the study." The reference is to the province of Hebei, the industrial heart of the country.

The central government is aware of the problem but seems unable to solve it. On several occasions President Xi Jinping called on the industry to "think green" and - on paper - has tightened sanctions on companies and executives who deliberately pollute. However rampant corruption in local government has taken away all power from the central directives especially in the energy market: in China, "the world's factory", 70% of energy is produced thanks to a highly polluting coal.

In 2014 the former Health Minister Chen Zhu penned an article for the important medical journal The Lancet in which he admitted that environmental pollution causes each year, across the nation, between 350 thousand and 500 thousand premature deaths. However, a study published in the same journal earlier claimed the victims of smog numbered 1.2 million for 2010.

 

Send to a friend
Printable version
CLOSE X
See also
Pollution, smog up around Shanghai and Hong Kong
13/02/2018 16:14
Scientific study: a third of the deaths in China linked to pollution
22/12/2016 10:07
A new (Chinese) name for smog, the population revolts
01/03/2013
Pollution in China, the anger of the people and the hypocrisy of the regime
06/12/2011
Anti-crisis measures: Hubei orders public servants to smoke local cigarettes
04/05/2009