There is much concern in China regarding the health risks that air pollution can cause. Over the past decade Beijing, the capital of China, has seen an increase in cases of lung cancer. The World Health Organization (WHO) says air pollution kill millions of people every year. Beijing health officials say that smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer, but admit that polluted air is a factor. The air pollution seen in Beijing can be accredited to the rapid economic expansion and poorly enforced laws to protect the environment. The link between air pollution and lung cancer is evident, but WHO has issued a scientific report that clarifies the ordeal. It estimated that more than half of lung cancer deaths are attributable to breathing in fine particles.
An eight year old girl from Jiangsu province has become China's youngest lung cancer patient. Many blame this illness on the environment's polluted air. The hospital that is treating her has denied these reports, but the community is outraged. According to the WHO report, the number of lung cancer reports per 100,000 people has increased from roughly 32% in 2002 and nearly doubled to 60% in 2011. The article gave no reason as to why the number of patients has increased. Health officials in Beijing say that lifestyle choices such as smoking are the main causes of lung cancer but passive smoking and air pollution can also be a factor.
From a sociological perspective, this situation is not surprising and should be expected. It is not uncommon to see people going through China with protective masks over their noses and mouths to keep the particles and dirt from getting into their respiratory systems. There needs to be better enforced laws regarding environmental safety as well as protection. As for the smog itself, it has been a problem for years and will continue to be a problem until China can implement better "green" programs and transportation. Until then, children and young adults should be kept out of the smog as much as possible since they are still developing and this could cause more problems for the next generation.
November 11, 2013