Pollution in China effects

According to the Ministry of Health pollution has made cancer China's leading cause of death. Lead poisoning is one of the most common pediatric health problems in China. Workers and villagers had been poisoned by lead emissions from the numerous factories, which are allowed to operate for years despite the flagrant environmental violations.

The true consequences are even worse since huge numbers of adults and children living in the vicinity of the plants have elevated concentrations of lead in their blood, up to seven times the level deemed safe by the Chinese government. The lead issue comes mostly from manufacturing of lead-acid batteries for cars and electric bikes.

A 2006 review of existing data suggested that one-third of Chinese children suffer from elevated blood lead levels. High levels are known to cause damage to the brain, kidney, liver, nerves and stomach and, in extreme cases, can cause death. Some of the children had absorbed enough lead to irreversibly diminish their intellectual capacity and permanently harm their nervous system.

Air and water pollution
Ambient air pollution alone is blamed for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Damaging air pollutants include sulfur dioxide, ozone and nitrogen dioxide. Modern China accounts for one-third of the global total amount of these pollutants. Nearly 500 million people lack access to safe drinking water. About one third of the national industrial waste and over 90 percent of household sewage in China is released directly into rivers and lakes. Nearly 80 percent of cities have no sewage treatment facilities at all and have their underground water supplies contaminated.

Water pollution source is generaly industrial waste, chemical fertilizers or raw sewage. It accounts for 50 percent of the $69 billion that the Chinese economy loses to pollution every year. In the last few years there have been numerous examples of industrial spills or hazardous dangerous waste disposals that have damaged waterways and harmed residents. Long-term damage from the pollution is however still unknown, but certain consequences will undoubtedly emerge in the future.

Next: Pollution in China aftermath