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China covers up pollution deaths

This is my hometown! Fk up! Now every Australian is aware that my hometown is a polluted disgusting place! It wasn’t like that twenty years ago! It was called paradise at that time!

Do something, stupid officials! When my grandfather was the mayor, at that time it was not like that! He retired long time ago. Now it becomes like this. Why now don’t you stupid pigs sentence all these corruped officers to death and hang them up as we used to do fourty years ago? I cannot understand that!

Quote:

Workers try to clean up a massive algal bloom spreading over Taihu Lake at Wuxi, in China’s Jiangsu province. Photo: AFP

Mary-Anne Toy, Beijing
July 5, 2007

THE World Bank has reluctantly censored a report revealing that pollution-related diseases kill 750,000 people in China every year.

The bank acted under pressure from Chinese officials who feared the revelation would provoke “social unrest”.

Almost a third of the report, Cost of Pollution in China, produced in co-operation with several Chinese government ministries, was cut out, including a map showing where the deaths were concentrated.

China’s State Environment Protection Agency and the Health Ministry asked the World Bank to cut the calculations of premature deaths from the report, along with the map, when a draft was completed at the end of last year, London’s Financial Times reported, citing World Bank advisers and Chinese officials.

The environment agency’s role in the censoring is unusual given that it has aggressively used media exposure to campaign for public and political support for tougher action on pollution.

“The World Bank was told that it could not publish this information. It was too sensitive and could cause social unrest,” an adviser to the study told the Financial Times.

The report has yet to be officially launched, but the version omitting the most sensitive sections was released at a conference in Beijing in March. Chinese officials at the conference, however, mentioned the 750,000 premature deaths figure in their presentations, even after they had insisted on that data being removed.

The World Bank has previously reported that 16 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities were in China, with estimates of the number of deaths from pollution there around 400,000.

The new World Bank study found the figure is almost double that, with most deaths caused by air pollution in large cities. Indoor air pollution, mainly from fumes from coal-burning stoves and cooking oil, were responsible for about 300,000 premature deaths.

About 60,000 premature deaths were attributed to diarrhoea and cancers caused by polluted water, mainly in rural areas.

The published conference version of the report says the health costs of air and water pollution in China amount to about 4.3 per cent of its GDP.

“China’s poor are disproportionately affected by the environmental health burden,” it says, “and only six provinces bear 50 per cent of the effects of acid rain in the country.”

Yesterday, the World Bank’s Beijing office said it was negotiating with Chinese authorities on a final version of the report. “This is a joint research project with the Government and the findings on the economic costs of pollution are still under review,” it said. “The final report, due out soon, will be a series of papers arising from all the research on the issue.”

Responding to rising public anger about polluted waterways, soil and air, the legacy of often uncontrolled economic growth and international concern about global warming, Beijing has elevated environmental issues as a priority.

China launched its first national action plan for global warming this year. Although it was criticised for not going far enough and rejecting mandatory emission caps, the priority for the Government is to maintain economic growth to ensure social stability.

With fewer than 400 days to go to the 2008 Olympics, Beijing has just had its worst June since 2000, with 15 days of poor air quality last month. The International Olympic Committee said this week that Beijing authorities would withdraw a million cars from streets next month in a trial run to slash the city’s notorious smog.

China covers up pollution deaths – World – theage.com.au

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