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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.


China’s Cancer Villages Are Real—and Probably Worse Than Reported

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: Keith Goetzman, environment, pollution, health, air and water, China, cancer, cancer villages, Environment magazine,

Factory near Yangtze River

Industrial pollution in some Chinese villages is so bad that it’s killing off not just residents but the towns themselves. Environment magazine reports on the bleak-and-bleaker conditions in these “cancer villages” such as Shangba in southern China’s Guangdong province:

Chinese media have been reporting about the “cancer villages” for several years, and some of the coverage has bled out to international mainstream media such as People magazine and the BBC. Environment researcher Lee Liu dug deeper on the subject, attempting to confirm the credibility of news reports and the extent of the phenomenon. A geographer who specializes in sustainable development, he concluded that, if anything, it “is likely to be more prevalent than has been previously reported.” Why?

Liu’s incredible report is worth checking out, covering the environmental, political, social, and cultural dimensions of the cancer-village phenomenon and reminding us that for every story we read about an eager-to-green China, many darker tales are perhaps not being fully told.

Source: Environment

Image by High Contrast, licensed under Wikimedia Commons.