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China Acknowledges It Has a Problem With Pollution-Laden ‘Cancer Villages’

This is most likely the first that authorities dubbed pollution-laden problem locations "cancer villages" in an official report

A man sorts through rubbish in Guiyu, the world’s largest center for electronic waste. Photo: Bert van Dijk

After several years of speculation, China’s environment ministry just acknowledged the existence of so-called “cancer villages,” France24 reports. Rumors of these cancer hot spots first began in 2009 after a Chinese journalist posted a map pinpointing areas that seemed to suffer from higher incidences of disease. But this is most likely the first that authorities dubbed the pollution-laden problem locations “cancer villages” in an official report.

Across China, there is growing discontent over the levels of industrial waste, smog and other environmental problems that have resulted from rapid, sometimes unregulated development. The new five-year plan points out: ”Poisonous and harmful chemical materials have brought about many water and atmosphere emergencies… certain places are even seeing ‘cancer villages.’”

The report doesn’t get into too many specifics or potential solutions, but it does acknowledge that China uses “poisonous and harmful chemical products,” many of which are banned in developed countries around the world. These chemicals, they write, “post long-term or potential harm to human health and the ecology.”

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