Pollution Estimated To Cause 750,000 Premature Deaths Each Year In China


"Beijing engineered the removal of nearly a third of a World Bank report on pollution in China because of concerns that findings on premature deaths could provoke "social unrest". The report, produced in co-operation with Chinese government ministries over several years, found about 750,000 people die prematurely in China each year, mainly from air pollution in large cities. China's State Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) and health ministry asked the World Bank to cut the calculations of premature deaths from the report when a draft was finished last year, according to Bank advisers and Chinese officials." See some of the "lost" details of mortality figures, by category, below the fold."Missing from this report are the research project's findings that high air-pollution levels in Chinese cities is leading to the premature deaths of 350,000-400,000 people each year. A further 300,000 people die prematurely each year from exposure to poor air indoors, according to advisers, but little discussion of this issue survived in the report because it was outside the ambit of the Chinese ministries which sponsored the research.

Another 60,000-odd premature deaths were attributable to poor-quality water, largely in the countryside, from severe diarrhea, and stomach, liver and bladder cancers.

The mortality information was "reluctantly" excised by the World Bank from the published report, according to advisers to the research project."

What are we to think of this?

China has relatively few cars, and the US many. In 2005 there were over 40 thousand people killed in traffic accidents in the US. Our point is that cumulative annual mortality data like these are pretty meaningless without a parallel "per capita" rate to make a comparison between nations.

What does strike us, however, is the parallel between the US government, which recently has seemed quite willing to deceive it's citizens about the future risks of climate change, and the Chinese government, which seems to have wanted to hide evidence that national environmental laws and enforcement programs were ineffective. Both governments wanted to prevent 'social unrest,' and, we might suppose, demands for corrective action. Peas in a pod.

Via:: Financial Times
Image credit:: Dave Band's Art, Peas in Pod

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