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Millennium Post

Air pollution: Half mn Chinese die every yr

A documentary highlighting China’s air pollution woes with claims that annually over half a million people die prematurely due to burning of coal has won praise after it went viral evoking mixed reactions.

The video by former China Central Television presenter Chai Jing went viral after it was released online, with critics questioning the scientific basis of her claims and supporters applauding her for shining a light on the issue.

Gruesome pictures of withered trees, murky skies and lifeless rivers appear but the film also shows a scientific perspective backed by data, field investigations at home and abroad and interviews with officials, scientists and the general public.

Beijing had 175 polluted days in 2014, eclipsed by neighboring Tianjin with 197 and Shijiazhuang with 264 days, official media reported on the video today.

The video shows satellite images from NASA demonstrating worsening air quality in north China over the past 10 years.

Citing former health minister Chen Zhu, the video claimed that an estimated half a million people die
prematurely in China every year because of air pollution, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported. In Beijing, the use of coal meant the concentration of cancer-causing PM2.5 particles in winter was 25 times higher than that in summer, it said. The burning of coal and oil contributes to 60 per cent of PM2.5 pollutants, or airborne particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter that penetrate the lungs.
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