Monday, October 15, 2012
Linfen is a city situated along the banks of the Fen River in southern Shanxi province, People’s Republic of China. The city currently has a population around 4.2 million. Linfen is routinely cited as one of the most polluted cities in the world. This pollution in the area is caused by the large amount of coal-burning power plants. The coal has caused the city to become smoggy and dust-covered. The Chinese government has received pressure from the local media and environmental agencies to help clean up the city. Reports of respiratory illness in children are also high in Linfen.
Thousands of iron, steel, and coal plants populate the city of Linfen. The Chinese citizens who live in the city are forced to wear face protection throughout the day. It has been reported that at times you can’t even see your own hand in front of your face because of the thick pollution and headlights are constantly needed. The people of Linfen have become accustomed to being covered in coal soot and airborne pollution every time they leave their homes. British experts have even compared the effects of the pollution to that of a nuclear power plant disaster. However, four million people live in the immediate vicinity of Linfen.
In the past couple years Beijing officials have ordered strict policy changes, but as one plant is targeted and shut down, another one opens up illegally. A child with a repertory illness has a life expediency 10 years shorter than average. The Fen River near Linfen, the source of drinking water for millions, is an open sewer. International studies have also suggested that the rate of arsenic poisoning is very high in the Shanxi province and life expediency is lower than the Chinese average.