The increasing air pollution in China has already started to show its damaging effects on the health of the Chinese population. In northern China where the air pollution is more severe than compared to the Southern China, the life expectancy of the people living there has been slashed by five years and more, which potentially robs 2.5 billion years of life from the 500million Chinese.
The alarming report published in ‘The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ focused mainly on the government policy of distributing free coal to the people living in the northern side of the Huai River during 1950-1980. Although the policy intended to provide indoor heat to the common people but it also resulted in some serious health disasters. Because of this government policy, the air of northern China shows 55 percent higher concentration of harmful airborne particles than the South where the life expectancy is still normal.
It is not an unknown fact that air pollution plays a significant role in developing many health problems. However, this new study based on the 1981-2001 official statistics and developed by many researchers from China, United States and Israel clearly shows the link between the increased mortality rate and continuous exposure to pollution. The authors of this study also claimed that their research helped in explaining the reason of anemic life expectancy growth in the Chinese population in spite of experiencing an explosive economic growth in the last few decades.
On the other hand, in an effort to assure the common Chinese people to tackle these harmful effects of air pollution, Xi Jinping, the chairman of the Communist Party said that if officials and companies ever cross the ecological red line then they would be punished by the government. He also said that it is high time to focus seriously on issues associated with pollution causing health problems and also on environmental protection. However, considering the level of pollution still increasing at an alarming rate in Northern China, there is still doubt if Xi Jinping’s promises will bring any change in the near future.
The published report did not examine any recent trends going on in that area, authors of the report, however, strongly suggested that the current level of pollution in the North would continue to slash lifespan of the people living there. Therefore, it is clear that China needs to undertake serious and effective measures to tackle the air pollution which is evidently cutting short the life of the people living in the North.