Reuters is reporting on recent protests in China by residents of an eastern province with concerns about excess blood lead levels in their children. As the article notes:

Parents have been demanding action after incidents of lead poisoning were recorded … in at least four provinces. A series of food health scares, including contaminated milk and and water and air pollution, have also sparked protests.

I recall reading at the time of the fall of the Iron Curtain that environmental concerns were not insignificant contributors to that rather rapid decline in Soviet hegemony.  Environmental degradation was very serious (and remains a problem) in many former Soviet-controlled states.  For example, as noted here about Poland:

Poland suffered as heavily as any other East European country from the environmental negligence inherent in the central planning approach to resource development. Although some warnings reached the public during the 1980s, the communist regimes typically had portrayed economic activity in the capitalist countries as the true enemy of the environment. Investigations after 1989 revealed that enormous damage had been inflicted on water, air, and soil quality and on forests, especially surrounding the industrial centers in Upper Silesia and the Kraków region. …

China is in most respects far more monolithic than the former Soviet States and those states under Soviet domination. Nevertheless, people do not take kindly to having their health threatened, and serious action can result in proportion to the level, real or perceived, of the threat. An economic miracle paid for in large part by ignoring pollution control and accompanying health consequences may not be sustainable.


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