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Overspeed Urbanization Menaces People's Health

Overspeed urbanization trend has posed a great threat to people's health, who are unprepared against it, Wilfried Kreisel, director of World Health Organization's Kobe Health Development Center said Sunday at the Shanghai Healthy City International Forum.

Nearly one half of the world population currently dwells in urban areas and more are expected to settle down in cities in next 30 years, Kreisel said.

He said the urbanization speed will be especially high in Africa and Asia and this will bring about high population density and poor design in many settlements in the cities.

About three billion people live in the urban areas in the world today, one third in slums, he said.

In many countries, the expert acknowledged, the health condition of those needy people in the cities is even worse than that of their peers in countryside.

Besides, the gap between the poor and the rich expands in many cities, and this makes the life of the poor people harder still in the urban areas, Kreisel noted, adding that the increasing number of slums with worsening environment make some cities the source of epidemics.

The seriously polluted air, water and earth together with the ineligible garbage treatment, poor health devices and unsafe drinking water will always trigger diseases in the cities, Kreisel said.

At the same time, he noted, the tremendous energy consumption in cities also threatens people's health.

The expert further acknowledged that the unsustainable development mode and irresponsible use of natural resources is detrimental to the environment and brings about the climate changes," said Kreisel.

"Though we are not sure whether the climate change will affect human health, they may be the hidden threats," Kreisel said.

(Xinhua News Agency November 21, 2005)


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