The population center under examination in this case is China with the health issue being the sheer amount of pollution in the air which has been correlated with a subsequent increase in the number of cases of lung related diseases. As evidenced by the research of Dong, Zhang, Sun, Zhang, Chen, Ma & Chen (2012) which examined the connection between particulates in the air and lung disease, it was revealed that Beijing’s PM rating (particulates per million) had reached a record breaking 671 micrograms or a PM 2.5 rating. This is roughly 26 times the recommended safety limited advocated by the WHO (World Health Organization) which stated that 25 micrograms is the allowable safe tolerance level when it comes to the amount of particulates in the air.
How is this a Health Issue for the Population?
Based on recent estimates from the Dong et al. (2012) study, it was revealed that nearly 1.2 million pre-mature deaths in China in 2010 alone were the direct result of lung related diseases that were connected to pollutants in the atmosphere. Natural causes were ruled out of the investigations due to subsequent evidence from the autopsies of the patients that revealed blackened lungs and cysts despite the fact that a majority of those examined did not smoke (Youcheng, 2007). The evidence clearly points toward pollution as the primary reason behind the increase in lung related deaths with WHO statistics pointing out that 25 million more people are likely to die by 2030 if the current trend in pollution related diseases continues to go unabated within the country.
Indicators of the prevalence of lung disease brought about through pollution can be seen in the cities of Guangzhou and Beijing which are two of the largest manufacturing centers in the country. Fei, XiaoMei, HongBing, YaoChu, Ware & Owen (2007) compared the rate of lung disease between these two regions with those of Shanghai and other regional locations that have a lower manufacturing presence. The Fei et al. (2012) study revealed that lung disease was 200% higher in Beijing and Guangzhou as compared to the other cities examined which had far fewer manufacturing centers. This creates a sufficient correlation between the creation of industrial manufacturing centers and the manifestation of higher percentages of people that develop lung disease.
The main culprit in this case is the sheer amount of factories located within the city yet one of the main contributing factors towards the sheer amount of people have been affected by lung disease within China is the fact that people from the countryside are abandoning their rural jobs in favor of what they perceive to be better paying factory jobs (Junfeng & Smith, 2007). The end result is that rural populations are migrating towards city centers which not only increases their likelihood of getting lung disease, but actually contributes to the current problem due to the higher demand placed on the local power grid that relies on coal fired power plants as their primary method of energy production (Peabody, Riddell, Smith, Yaping, Yanyun, Jianghui & Sinton, 2005).
It is based on this that government intervention is needed in order to cause a shift in the present method of manufacturing and migration. Cleaner methods of energy production and manufacturing need to be implemented to reverse the current trend in lung diseases that are caused due to pollution. If nothing is done within the immediate future, it is likely that millions more will die in the future.
Dong, G., Zhang, P., Sun, B., Zhang, L., Chen, X., Ma, N., &… Chen, J. (2012). Long-Term Exposure to Ambient Air Pollution and Respiratory Disease Mortality in Shenyang, China: A 12-Year Population-Based Retrospective Cohort Study. Respiration, 84(5), 360-368.
Fei, X., XiaoMei, Y., HongBing, S., YaoChu, X., Ware, R. S., & Owen, N. (2007). Better understanding the influence of cigarette smoking and indoor air pollution on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: A case–control study in Mainland China. Respirology, 12(6), 891-897.
Junfeng (Jim), Z., & Smith, K. R. (2007). Household Air Pollution from Coal and Biomass Fuels in China: Measurements, Health Impacts, and Interventions. Environmental Health Perspectives, 115(6), 848-855.
Peabody, J. W., Riddell, T. J., Smith, K. R., Yaping, L., Yanyun, Z., Jianghui, G., &…Sinton, J. E. (2005). Indoor Air Pollution in Rural China: Cooking Fuels, Stoves, and Health Status. Archives Of Environmental & Occupational Health, 60(2), 86-95.
Youcheng, L. (2007). Where there’s smoke there’s lung disease. Thorax, 62(10), 838-839.