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Toxic Villages

Photographer: How Hwee Young


While the heavy smog in Beijing and much of northern China over the past few days have caused alarm among residents and renewed scrutiny on the pollution woes of the country, villagers in a small town of Hubei Province have been grappling with severe air, water and noise pollution on a daily basis over the past two years.


China's Xinhua news reported 04 January 2013 that more than 60 cancer deaths in various villages of Zekou Town has been caused by the heavy pollution from the chemical industry park nearby. More than 20 chemical plants were built around the villages of Dongtan, Xiangnan, Zhoutan, Sunguai, Qingnian and others over the past two years resulting in huge increases in noise, air and water pollution.


Many villagers complained of intensifying respiratory, heart, skin and circulatory illnesses caused by the pollution and a large spike in cancer diagnoses and deaths since the factories were built.