Wednesday, October 22, 2008

China is in Respiratory Distress

news you may not know
Let's Keep the Campfires Outside...

China is racing toward the future. But, the poor health habits of the past are making it hard for the Chinese people to catch their breath.

Even as China emerges as an economic superpower it remains firmly trapped in a third-world past. Over 70 percent of Chinese homes are warmed with harmful fuels, including wood, coal, and crop residues. These are the same fuels with which the Chinese cook their food.

Now, grilling a steak (or some fresh veggies) over an open flame is all well and good – if the grill is nicely situated in the great outdoors. But, when the grill sits smack dab in the middle of a poorly ventilated house, you’re heading for trouble.

In this case the trouble comes in the form of lung disease, specifically chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer. Estimates are that 65 million Chinese will die between 2003 and 2033 due to COPD; another 18 million will die due to lung cancer. This represents almost 25 percent of all predicted deaths in China for that period.

Sooner or later you have to ask yourself what good it does to become an economic superpower if your nation will simply go broke providing health care – a topic about which the United States is currently in a hot debate.

Of course, with global warming, China is not alone in this problem. Whether we like it or not, China’s problem falls upon all of us. If China doesn’t curb their pollution problem the entire world will suffer the consequences.

So, come on China – step up and act like a superpower. Put some real, mean, green and clean programs into place. You – and the rest of the world – will breathe easier.

To read more about the report, see this from Reuters. To learn more about promoting clean air, see this from the Clean Air Council


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