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China Acknowledged Severe Pollution and “Cancer Villages”

China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection recently issued the 12th Five-Year Environment Plan for Risk Prevention and Control of Chemical Products. The Plan acknowledged that a variety of chemical substances have been detected in some Chinese rivers, lakes and coastal waters, wildlife, and human beings. Toxic and hazardous chemicals have resulted in multiple incidents of acute water and air environmental emergencies and in drinking water crises in many regions. "Cancer villages" have developed in some regions.

Earlier, some Chinese media reported on a widely circulated Google map, which displays more than 100 "cancer villages" in the country. Most of these "cancers villages" are reportedly located in the affluent eastern coastal regions, which were the first to bring in the introduced pollution-prone industries from overseas. However, with the readjustment of the industrial structure and environmental regulations, there are signs that contaminated areas and cancer villages are developing inland as well.

The report also pointed to the frequent occurrences of industrial accidents in the production of dangerous chemicals, transportation accidents, and environmental emergencies caused by illegal sewage. On January 31, 39 tons of aniline leaked from a chemical plant in Changzhi City, Hebei Province, with 8.7 tons flowing into a local river, causing a water outage in a large area in nearby Handan City.

Source: BBC Chinese, February 21, 2013