Suicidal smog

Published: Saturday 15 February 1997

latest figures released by the health department of China show that deaths due to air pollution are increasing every year. Nearly 1,000 more people died of respiratory diseases in 1995 than in the early '90s as air pollution worsened in the country. Death figures rose from 5,238 in 1994 to 5,707 in 1995.

Between 1991 and 1995, levels of pollutants which have been blamed for these deaths and respiratory diseases rose by 14 per cent and those of other toxic gases, by 27 per cent. In the same period, respiratory diseases killed 22,192 people and sent almost half-a-million to hospitals. Crowds waiting at eye clinics and dermatologists' also point to the level of air pollution in China. Experts say that about half of eczema cases were linked to the environment. In most Chinese cities, concentration of nitrogen dioxide at heavy traffic intersections have risen by almost one-third of the 1991 level.

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