With recent reports of schools closing due to smog, an 8-year-old diagnosed with lung cancer and an ever-darkening sky throughout its most polluted areas, present-day China is paying for prioritizing economics over the environment.
A frenzy over declining sperm counts broke out this week after the China Business Review published "Smog Can Impact Humans’ Reproductive Ability and Immune System." The article referred to a report released by the China Meteorological Administration and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, which outlined growing climate change and measures for reducing China's unsustainable carbon footprint. The paper made only a passing reference to fertility, but enough to raise alarm.
Even if the report's findings were exaggerated for the sake of a headline, fertility is just one of myriad health concerns posed by poor air and water quality -- concerns that include lung cancer, immunodeficiency, cardiovascular disease and increased mortality.
In recent years, China has seen its pollution index grow exponentially. Thus far,setting limits to reduce coal use and the number of vehicles on the road has not worked. The Chinese government has even resorted to offering cash payouts to municipalities to reduce local pollution levels, but to little avail.