Water spurts from a well near the Dabaoshan mine which, like most in China, has not faced strict environmental controls in recent years. An estimated 460,000 people die prematurely in China each year due to exposure to air and water pollution, according to a 2007 World Bank study. Besides mining for coal, China has a large mine industry around heavy metals used to make batteries, computer parts and other electronic devices.
Shangba (Chinese: ??) is a village of about 3,300 villagers in Guangdong Province, China. It is an agricultural village, with rice and sugar cane being major crops. Recently, the village has come to be known as China's "Village of Death" among the hundreds of cancer villages in China due to the extremely high incidence of cancer in its population.
The presumed source of the pollution is the Dabaoshan Mine for zinc, once Asia's largest mine for this mineral. The village's crops are also highly contaminated.
Just south of Liangqiao, in southern China’s Guangdong province is the small village of Shangba. On the surface, this community of roughly 3,300 appears to be a tranquil, rural village comprised of sugar cane fields and plentiful rice paddies.
When a closer look is taken, the people of Shangba have been living with a malevolent curse for years. In fact, this town is now known as “Village of Death.” It has earned this name because, over time, cancer has claimed the lives of approximately 80 percent of the Shangba townspeople. It seems that no one living in Shangba, young or old, is safe from the threat of cancer.
Since 1987, there have been more than 250 confirmed cancer-related deaths. The majority of cancers have involved the liver and digestive system. Along with cancer, a significant number of Shangba citizens also suffer from skin disorders and kidney stones.
The source of this epidemic of cancer is most likely coming from the water, both river and ground water. Today the Hengshui River has been referred to as “The Dead River,” and with good reason.
Along the shore of the Hengshui, are sections of rocks that have been dyed a dark brown, almost rusty, color. Much of the rock is also covered with a mysterious matter and a black, metallic sediment extends along the shoreline. If there are any living creatures that frequent the banks of this dirty river, they are few and far between.