“Cancer Villages(癌症村)” admitted in China, more firmed policies are expected

The “Plan”  admitting the “Cancer Villages(癌症村)”

Recently, the Ministry of Environmental Protection released the 12th Five-Year Plan of the Prevention and Control of Environmental Risks of Chemicals (hereinafter referred to as the “Plan”). The “Planning” states the number of existing chemicals used in production in China is more than 40,000 kinds of which more than a thousand species have been included in the “Hazardous Chemicals” which have poisoned, corrosion, explosion, combustion, combustion nature to the human body health. In particular the “Planning” marks the first time the government admits the existence of the “Cancer Villages”:


In recent years,a variety of chemical substances have been detected in some of our rivers, lakes, coastal waters, the wild animals and even humans. In some areas, the level of concentrations of persistent organic pollutants and endocrine disrupting chemicals is higher than international standards. Toxic and hazardous chemicals have caused many acute water, atmospheric environmental emergencies, with a number of local drinking water crisis, and even “cancer villages” are found in some individual regions.

The  story of “cancer villages”
cancer village
The map of “cancer villages”

 In recent years, the word “cancer villages” has frequently appeared in major media reports. In April 2009, the Phoenix Weekly cover story was “one hundred carcinogenic places”. According to information available, the 197 cancer villages were recorded with names, two places were described as more than 10 villages and 20 villages, in the other nine regions the number of cancer villages can not be confirmed. Thus the number of China’s cancer villages should be more than 247 covering 27 provinces in mainland China. Due to lack of information, it is conceivable that the number of “cancer villages” should be more than 247 depicting the seriousness of the environmental pollution.

Root reason of the spreading of cancer

The increasing number of “Cancer villages” is due to environmental pollution, in particular the groundwater pollution is getting worse. In 2011, among the underground water quality monitoring points in 200 cities across the country, the points with the poor – very poor water quality accounted for 55%, and the water quality is becoming worse than a year ago in 15.2% of the monitoring points. According to the second round of groundwater resources survey by the Ministry of Land and Resources in 2001-2002, which was much earlier, in the plain area of 1.97 million square kilometers, undrinkable water accounted for ​​up to 59.49% of the total area. With a decade passes, this digit is expected to be increased.

Looking into the future

Again, there is cost for China to become the world’s factory though we had not foresee such cost is now converting into the most dangerous word to anyone, “cancer”. We urge the government to adopt stricter policies against those heavy polluters in particular those in direct relation with the pollution of the underground water. In term of investment policy, industry with heavy damage to the nature should be discouraged by all means. 

Reference Link: http://www.mep.gov.cn/gkml/hbb/bwj/201302/W020130220539067366659.pdf

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