China’s environment ministry appears to have acknowledged the existence of so-called “cancer villages” after years of public speculation about the impact of pollution in certain areas.
For years campaigners have said cancer rates in some villages near factories and polluted waterways have shot up.
But the term “cancer village” has no technical definition and the ministry’s report did not elaborate on it.
There have been many calls for China to be more transparent on pollution.
The latest report from the environment ministry is entitled “Guard against and control risks presented by chemicals to the environment during the 12th Five-Year period (2011-2015)”.
It says that the widespread production and consumption of harmful chemicals forbidden in many developed nations are still found in China.
“The toxic chemicals have caused many environmental emergencies linked to water and air pollution,” it said.
The report goes on to acknowledge that such chemicals could pose a long-term risk to human health, making a direct link to the so-called “cancer villages”.
“There are even some serious cases of health and social problems like the emergence of cancer villages in individual regions,” it said.
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