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Health Problem in China: Sheer Level of Pollutants


The main health problem in China is the sheer level of pollutants in the atmosphere which has impacted the quality of life of people in its various cities.

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Describing the Population and Health Issue

As of late, China has grown to become the second-largest economy in the world, however, the price that was paid for its rapid industrialization and modernization was the deterioration of its population’s health, especially in its heavily urbanized metropolitan centers. Air pollution has reached an unprecedented scale wherein China is second only to India based on the sheer amount of pollutants in the atmosphere.

Evidence of this can be seen not only in the sheer amount of smog that has been reported in the news but also in the rise of lung-related diseases within the country (Peng, Yongfen & Xiaojian, 2013).

Importance to the Health Profession

This issue is important due to the prolific nature of the health issue and the sheer level of impact it could bring about. For instance, in the case of viruses such as SARS, MERS, and an assortment of other diseases that have been in the news as of late, their spread can be prevented through the use of more stringent immigration procedures and an examination of passengers before leaving the airport. Not only that, their origin can be traced via questioning the passenger and determining where they got sick, thereby reducing the chance that other people may catch the sickness in the process (Ohdoko, Komatsu & Kaneko, 2013).

In comparison, China’s air pollution is ubiquitous throughout most of the country’s cities, with millions of people being impacted daily by merely breathing. When combined with the fact that many people within such cities do not have access to industrial-strength ventilation systems that can sufficiently filter out the hazardous particulates in the atmosphere, this results in a much greater potential for a large percentage of the population to develop lung-related diseases.

Two Social Determinants of Health that Impact the Health Issue

Income Gap

One of the first social determinants of health that impact the issue is the income gap within the Chinese population. The problem with the current employment situation in China is that people are simply underpaid for their work in comparison to other countries. As a result, they need to live closer to the various factories where they work which often results in a considerable amount of exposure to the toxic fumes emanating from such locations.

With the average price of an apartment in China being $350,000 yet the monthly average income of a worker is $350; the result is that most factory workers in China’s big cities often live in cramped apartments that lack sufficient ventilation (Tilt, 2013).

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Population Growth

Another social determinant of health that impacts the population is the sheer level of population growth within China. As a direct result of this action, China has attempted to keep up with the demand for electricity by creating more coal-fueled power plants. Unfortunately, this created the undesired effect of further exacerbating the sheer amount of pollution in the air.

How does it impact the health behavior of your population?

The unfortunate result of both social determinants of health is that the population has attempted to adapt to the worsening conditions by wearing face masks and not going out when the pollution gets too condensed. Unfortunately, this has only been a stopgap measure wherein despite the best attempts of the population cases of lung disease continue to increase.


Based on what has been presented, it is obvious that some means of resolving the current pollution issue must be implemented in the future. If nothing is done, this increases the rate of exposure of the local population to the air particulates which they breathe in, both within their respective apartments as well as when they go outside. The result is a higher number of cases involving lung disease.

Reference List

Ohdoko, T., Komatsu, S., & Kaneko, S. (2013). Residential preferences for stable electricity supply and a reduction in air pollution risk: a benefit transfer study using choice modeling in China. Environmental Economics & Policy Studies15(3), 309-328.

Peng, X., Yongfen, C., & Xiaojian, Y. (2013). Haze, air pollution, and health in China. Lancet, 382(9910), 2067.

Tilt, B. (2013). Industrial Pollution and Environmental Health in Rural China: Risk, Uncertainty and Individualization. China Quarterly, 214, 283-301.

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