China / Society

Urbanization increases ill-health in rural areas

By Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou (China Daily) Updated: 2014-10-28 07:56

The number of villagers who feel sick because of the worsening rural environment has increased 9 percentage points in Guangdong province this year, a survey reported.

"Now, many rural areas no longer have green mountains and clean water, and more than 51 percent of the villagers believe the environmental pollution in the province's rural areas has become serious or very serious," the survey said.

Liu Rongxin, the director of the survey department at the Canton Public Research Center, which conducted the survey, said, "As many as 53 percent of the villagers in Guangdong province believed their health had been threatened by the worsening condition of the air and the poor environment."

Liu said that more than 50 percent of the province's villagers believe the province's rural areas no longer are safe to live in.

"Only 47 percent of the villagers think the rural areas are still safe, and the figure witnessed a reduction of 7 percentage points compared with the previous year," Liu said.

The survey included interviews with more than 1,500 villagers 16 to 65 years old across the southern province in May.

The findings of the survey were released on Monday.

"It is the third successive year that the center conducts such a survey, and the data surveyed this year is the worst," Liu said.

The worsening pollution in Guangdong's rural areas should concern the government, as the pollution is no longer confined to the urban areas in the prosperous province, one of the country's economic powerhouses, which borders Hong Kong and Macao, he said.

In addition to respiratory tract ailments, which have represented 65 percent of the province's major illnesses, insomnia, skin diseases, agitation and related diseases have also been on the rise in recent years, Liu said.

Liu urged the government to take effective and concrete measures to prevent the vast rural areas from being polluted while speeding up Guangdong's urbanization drive

"The urbanization should not sacrifice the rural ecology and environment," he added.

Li Youhuan, director of the Comprehensive Development and Research Center of the Guangdong Academy of Social Science, said the worsening pollution situation in the rural areas is the result of urban areas' dumping more and more garbage in the countryside, plus the increase of the rural waste.

"In addition to insufficient investment in preventing and fighting rural pollution, local governments lacks laws, regulations and rules to supervise and control the rural pollution," Li said.

"Meanwhile corruption of local township and village officials has also become one of the reasons that has caused a worsening environment pollution in the rural areas," he said.

"Relevant departments should map out detail plans and introduce effective measures to help prevent and fight the pollution in the rural areas," he added.

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