Living in a haze: China's pollution woes
The coal power stations of China's central Shanxi province provide energy for much of the rest of the country. Yet this comes at a significant cost to the region's people.
The inhabitants of the village of Gezhuotou are surrounded by power stations, coal mines and factories. The pollution and its accompanying health risks are a fact of life for these people, reports James Reynolds for the BBC.
With little wind, the pollution sits in the air — by afternoon, a haze reduces visibility to the extent that cars turn on their headlights.
More people are developing respiratory diseases; some suffer paralysing lung disease and many have swollen faces and red eyes.
The region's problems illustrate the impact of China's escalating energy needs. Across the country, pollution-related illnesses claim around 400,000 lives a year.
And while the government is trying to promote alternative energy sources, the coal burning must continue to fuel China's breakneck development.