The prevalence of smoking in China tends to fudge the contribution of air pollution to the growing incidence of respiratory disease in the country, according to a story in the South China Morning Post.
Two recent incidents were described as being timely reminders of the cost of China’s rapid development. In one, an 8-year-old girl became the nation’s youngest lung-cancer patient, with doctors linking her illness to environmental factors. Dr. Feng Dongjie, of the Jiangsu cancer hospital, said the girl lived on a busy road where she inhaled dust, including superfine particles considered to be the most lethal component of smog.
The other example was the smog that hung over many Chinese cities, including Beijing, last month. The smog was so bad in the northeastern city of Harbin that visibility fell to below three meters; so even public security surveillance cameras could not penetrate the thick layers of particles.
“The immediate concern for the authorities is safeguarding national security though a street surveillance network,” the story said. “They should also be deeply worried about the effects of smog on the public’s health as they are insidious and, if and when the air clears, will linger much longer.”
The World Health Organization has classified pollution from vehicles, power plants and factories as a leading cause of cancer that is worse than passive smoking.
Category: Breaking News