How bad is pollution? Expert says people in Guangzhou already have black lungs

Cam MacMurchy , March 7, 2013 4:22pm

This is probably not what you want to read today, but the truth hurts: an expert says pollution is so bad in Guangzhou that many people’s lungs have already turned black by the time they hit 40 years old.

Photo credit: Life of Guangzhou

Zhong Nanshan is a Chinese lung expert who spoke yesterday at the National People’s Congress in Beijing. Unfortunately for him, some of China’s leaders may not like what he has to say:

On combating China’s haze pollution, Zhong believed the most important thing was to change the mindset. “Let’s get this straight – is gross domestic product [GDP} more important – or our people’s health?”

Amen to that.

It’s a foregone conclusion that PM2.5 particulates cause cancer. While Zhong didn’t provide any figures for Guangzhou or elsewhere in the PRD, he did say that lung cancer rates in Beijing have skyrocketed by 60% in the past 10 years.

Zhong said controlling pollution is possible if the government makes it a priority, and suggested tying pollution levels to the evaluation of local officials.

He’s preaching to the converted.

Source: SCMP