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Pollution Creates 'Cancer Village'

With scores of farmers sick and 20 already dead, a village 300 kilometers northeast of Nanjing has become known as the cancer village of Jiangsu Province.


Authorities suspect serious pollution is behind the high concentration of cancer cases.


The Funing County environmental bureau began an in-depth investigation after the media trained its spotlight on Yangqiao Village in Funing County. Other related departments are assisting the bureau.


The village’s agricultural pesticide factory and two chemical plants all emit a noxious odor and produce wastewater day and night. Many residents believe that chemicals from the factories are behind the cancer epidemic in the village.


A county government official surnamed Zhou said recently that scientists and other experts will be invited to make a thorough investigation of the village.


An official surnamed Yang from the county’s environmental bureau said the government and the bureau would work together. But Zhou and Yang agreed that it would take time to check for a connection between the high rate of cancer and the chemical pollution.


To date, the local health department has not been officially notified of the situation.


According to Nanjing’s Jiangnan Times, an affiliate of the Beijing-based People’s Daily, more than 80 percent of the villagers complain of an awful odor that makes them feel very uncomfortable and leads to breathing problems and dizziness. Old people and children often suffer coughs and constricted chests.


Waste from the chemical plants has seriously polluted the river that runs through the village and all the local wells. Even the tap water smells of agricultural chemicals.


Residents say many of their dogs and cats have died after drinking water or eating fish from the river.


(China Daily May 10, 2004)

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