Air pollution kills more people than smoking in many cities on the mainland, a new study by Greenpeace and Peking University has found.
A study of 31 mainland cities shows that people are more likely to die from PM2.5 that tobacco use.
In 12 of the cities, 100 out of every 100,000 deaths were blamed on pollution.
The study did not even include some of the most polluted cities in the Hebei province which indicates the situation could be even worse.The Hebei province alone account for 60 percent of the entire pollution.
In an article in the Lancet last year the Health minister estimated 350,000-500,000 premature deaths a year. But an earlier study in the same journal said air pollution was responsible for 1.2 million premature deaths in 2010 alone.
Only eight of China’s 74 large cities have managed to meet official air safety standards in 2014, according to the Environmental Protection Ministry. That is 5 more than the previous year when only three cities met the standards, Haikou on the island of Hainan, the Tibetan capital of Lhasa and the coastal resort city of Zhoushan.
Mid-January, a government official blamed the pollution in the Sichuan province on bacon, of all things! Apparently the age-old tradition of smoking bacon on the eve of the Chinese lunar New Year, which this year will fall on February 19, is the cause.
In October last year, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified air pollution as a group 1 carcinogen for the first time. This puts it in the same category as smoking cigarettes, with “sufficient evidence” that exposure causes lung cancer. The IARC also classified particulate matter (PM), a major component of the air pollution in Hong Kong, as carcinogenic.
Traffic on a smog shrouded bridge in Nanjing