Chinese face pollution crisis

China’s prospects for continued economic success are under scrutiny with the release of an 18-month report that ties the country’s pollution with significant damage to human health.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, a think tank based in France, claims by 2020 pollution levels will result in the premature deaths of 600,000 Chinese each year in urban areas, while an additional 20 million will suffer respiratory illnesses. Rapid increases in industrialization and urbanization over the past two decades have led to some of the world’s worst air, soil and water quality, the report concludes.

In economic terms, the damage reportedly will cost the country roughly 13 percent of its gross domestic product. An estimated 190 million Chinese already suffer from poor-quality water, with more than 30,000 children dying from the effects every year.