China's smog, which is so dense that video cameras can't even puncture it, has claimed its youngest victim. An 8-year-old girl has been diagnosed with cancer. She is the youngest person ever in China to be diagnosed with that disease.
According to domestic reports, the girl lived next to a busy road and often inhaled dirty air. Probably one of the youngest cases of lung cancer ever reported, it's highly unusual for lung cancer to "just happen." While people can be more predisposed to this particular form of cancer than others, the numerous causes are almost universally environmental.
Currently, China is leading the world in cancer, claiming 20% of the world's cases. Lung cancer is by far the most prevalent. It gets even worse. The vast majority of deaths attributed to world air pollution are in China. The New York Times recently reported that levels of pollution in Beijing are 40 times higher than what the World Health Organization (WHO) considers healthy, and well outside what the West would ever tolerate in a major city.
In an era wracked with environmental concerns that the vast majority of scientists believe place the entire world in imminent danger, this irresponsibility needs to be sanctioned. The entire biosphere depends on China cleaning up its act. Greenhouse gases are pouring into the atmosphere and clearly straining a system that is already at its breaking point. The media is calling for renewed efforts against polluters, but unless the global community steps up, it seems unlikely that the smog over China will lift anytime soon.