China Cold Front Exacerbates Toxic Smog

China hospitals get swamped with respiratory complaints

  @ibtimesau on

The number of hospital admissions related to respiratory complaints has risen in China and may continue to rise as the country's residents continue to experience yet again another toxic smog pollution which is seen could be exacerbated by a prevailing cold front.

According to the Beijing Morning Post, the number of hospital admissions related to breathing problems in China's capital alone had grown by 20 per cent in the recent days. Half of those patients were children who were found suffering from respiratory infections.

And more residents may get hospitalised in the coming days as the toxic smog pollution gets exacerbated by a prevailing cold front from the north, the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center said. From today, Friday, until tomorrow, Saturday, Shanghai's air will be "lightly polluted," triggered by this cold front, the Shanghai Daily reported.

Although January is usually the month that sees the most frequent pollution in China, according to Fu Qingyan, a chief engineer at the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center, there had already been 17 days recorded as polluted in the first month of the year alone.

The center in January launched a more accurate and stricter air quality evaluation system. "However, the data this year can't compare with previous years since we adopted a more accurate and stricter air quality evaluation system. The main pollutant, PM2.5, was not calculated in the previous evaluation system," Mr Fu said.

Emissions from coal-burning in power stations and exhaust fumes from vehicles on highly dense streets were the reported triggers of Beijing's current foul air.

China's 20 million residents, most specially those with health problems, the elderly and the young have been advised to stay indoors and wear protective masks as the predicament is still seen to get prolonged in the coming days.

"The emphysema rate in people above 40 years old in China has reached 8.7 percent and lung cancer carrier is increasing by 7 percent every year. The air pollution surely has a deeper and bigger influence than SARS as people may inhale pollutants with every breath," Liu Zhongmin, director of Shanghai East Hospital, was quoted by the Shanghai Daily.

"You can block SARS but no one can escape from air pollution," Zhong Nanshan, head of the Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Diseases and a renowned expert in SARS, told China Central Television.

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