Beijing: Millions of people breathed easy on Thursday in the Chinese capital after a strong cold front swept away heavily polluted smog that had covered a vast part of the country and was described as an environmental crisis by the WHO.
The strong cold front from grass lands of inner Mongolia last night swept away the smog which prompted rare orange alerts by officials as it went high above the levels, some times even 20 times fixed by World Health Organisation (WHO).
As a result lingering smog in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province dispersed after plaguing northern and central China for almost a week.
Chinese weather officials issued 12 alerts for smoggy weather since February 20, which included nine yellow alerts and three orange alerts over the smog regarded as the worst even by Beijing`s standards.
The growing public anger over the government`s inability to control the smog drew Chinese President Xi Jinping out into the streets of the capital as a symbolic gesture to share the plight of the people.
Xi came out along with top officials and met people at various places and directed the officials to initiate strong measures to control the unrelenting pollution.
Observers say the government was concerned that the growing public outcry over the heightened raise in pollution levels specially harming children could threaten the hold on power of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which is ruling the country since 1949.
Meanwhile, a new study has revealed that a type of lung cancer which is increasing in Beijing is linked to worsening air quality.
An expert warned that the potential health impact of it could be much greater than the Severe acute respiratory syndrome, (SARS) epidemic which shook China in 2003.
"The proportion of lung adenocarcinoma cases is increasing," Wang Ning, deputy director of the Beijing Office for Cancer Prevention and Control, was quoted as saying by the state-run China Daily.
Adenocarcinoma of the lung is a common histological form of lung cancer that contains certain distinct malignant tissue, while the other type is a form of non-small-cell lung cancer.
Wang`s findings on cancer resulted from a study she led that was published in the Chinese Journal of Preventive Medicine in March 2011.
Wang and her co-workers examined cases of lung cancer diagnosed at Beijing hospitals from 1998 to 2007.
Zhong Nanshan, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and director of the Guangzhou Institute of Respiratory Diseases, said that without timely intervention, pollution could have a potential health impact much greater than that of the SARS epidemic.
Zhong also said that severe pollution could result in low birth weight and premature births.
Some public health experts have forecast that in five to seven years, China will see a substantial increase in diseases including lung cancer and cardiovascular conditions, Zhong said.