China

Chinese Policy of Handing Out Free Coal in the North Has Cut Lifespans

By 5.5 years

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China's policy of giving free coal for heating to residents in the north has contributed to shaving 5.5 years off life expectancy there, a study says.

It says air pollution from burning coal in the area north of the Huai River, with a population of some 500m people, was 55% higher than in the south.

The region also had higher rates of heart and lung disease as a result of the policy in force up to 1980.