Cancer villages in China bring focus on high pollution

A map drawn by a Chinese university student has caught the public’s attention after it revealed the existence of more than 240 “cancer villages” across the country and faulted polluting industries for the incidence of the disease, Sutirtho Patranobis reports.
HT Image
HT Image
Updated on Feb 26, 2013 12:09 AM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times | BySutirtho Patranobis, Beijing

A map drawn by a Chinese university student has caught the public’s attention after it revealed the existence of more than 240 “cancer villages” across the country and faulted polluting industries for the incidence of the disease.


Though never used officially, the phrase “cancer villages” denote communities where a large number of people have been known to suffer from the disease.

The student collated the map and the data from government and news reports.

But the Ministry of Environmental Protection admitted the existence of these villages in a report earlier in February and said cancer rates were high among their residents.

The report is now being carried across the state-controlled media in China, raising questions about the conditions of these villages and what could be done to reduce the impact of pollution.

In 2012, China saw a number of pollution-related mass protests where citizens forced authorities to suspend new projects which were perceived to be harmful to the environment.

“Although such villages are found in around 27 regions, many of them are located in central Henan and eastern Jiangsu provinces. The number of such villages is a sharp increase compared to another widely circulated map published by social activist Deng Fei several years ago. Deng identified just over 100 "cancer villages,"’ the Shanghai Daily reported Monday.

Giving the example of one such village, the Yangqiao village of Yancheng city in Jiangsu province, the report said that more than 20 villagers have been reported as dying of cancer, mainly from lung and esophageal cancers, from 2001 to 2004.

“The pollution in the air was so bad, it was reported, that villagers had to cover their mouths and noses with wet towels when sleeping,” the report said.

In Dongjin village in the same city, nearly 100 villagers were said to have died of cancer from 2001 to 2006 as the result of pollution caused by a chemical company.

According to the news report, the firm offered 70 Yuan (US$11) to each villager as "subsidy" after it was sued by victims, China Business Journal reported.

In a new pollution scandal, chemical companies in east China's Weifang City were accused of using high-pressure injection wells to discharge waste sewage more than 1,000 meters underground for years, seriously polluting underground water and posing a cancer threat.

“The government of the city is offering 100,000 Yuan (US$16,000) to anyone who blows the whistle on companies illegally discharging waste underground. So far, no companies have been caught for polluting the environment.”

The ministry has admitted that China was still producing and using toxic chemicals banned in some developed countries.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Women wait near an empty fuel station hoping to buy kerosene oil for cooking in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Sri Lankans for months have been forced to stand in long lines to buy scarce essentials, with many returning home empty-handed. 

    Facing cash crunch, Sri Lanka to get 90,000 tonnes of Russian light crude oil

    Sri Lanka on Saturday received Russian oil in a bid to restart operations in the island nation's only refinery, AFP quoted the country's energy minister Kanchana Wijesekera. Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, the state-run refinery was shut in March due to the foreign exchange crunch, which left the government being unable to finance crude imports.

  • The style of architecture of the buildings at Xiol is more typical of the style found in regions further south.

    Mexico: Archaeologists uncover 1,500-year-old city full of palaces, pyramids

    Archaeologists working in the Yucatan region of Mexico have revealed the remains of a centuries-old Mayan city, local media reported on Friday. The area was first uncovered in 2018 on a construction site for a future industrial park close to the town of Merida on Yucatan's northern coast. Archaeologists from the National Institute for Anthropology and History then took over the site.

  • A report claimed Imran Khan was approached by several channels to withdraw his Azadi march. 

    Imran Khan ended Azadi march abruptly after talking to these 3 persons: Report

    Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan who was determined to carry on with his protest until the government announces a fresh election on May 26 ended the Azadi march which reached Islamabad leaving trails of violence and destruction in Punjab, Karachi and Lahore. Addressing his supporters, Imran Khan announced an end to the march and gave a six-day deadline to the government to announce the election.

  • Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi holding a meeting with Samoa Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa after agreements signing ceremony between China and Samao in Apia. (AFP)

    China signs deal with Samoa to strengthen ties

    China and the island nation of Samoa on Saturday signed a deal to strengthen ties amid a flurry of diplomatic activity across a cluster of remote islands in the Pacific Ocean where Canberra, Washington and Beijing have begun to campaign and jostle for influence. The deal signed between visiting Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and Samoan Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa promised “greater collaboration” between the two countries. Details of the deal remain unclear.

  • Bangladesh foreign minister AK Abdul Momen addressed the Asian Confluence River Conclave, NADI-3, in Guwahati on Saturday. (ANI Photo)

    Bangladesh says Rohingyas could turn to extremism, seeks help for repatriation

    Bangladesh foreign minister AK Abdul Momen on Saturday said that Rohingya refugees staying in his country could turn to extremism and sought help from India and other countries in the region to repatriate them to Myanmar. The session was attended by a host of dignitaries including external affairs minister S Jaishankar, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and ambassadors and high commissioners of several South East Asian countries including Myanmar.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, May 28, 2022