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Best Efforts are not Enough : Damned pollution and Cancers(1999/07)

I asked my students in Chung Yuan Christen University to read the June issue of Common Health, to ponder over the data plotting of top 10 cancers during last decade with the towns and cities locations. It suggested that at all the places nearby the exits of main rivers of Taiwan are troubled with serious high rate of cancers, and the polluted water is a most possible cause for them.

The data plotting and issues raised are important. We need to understand the analytic studies of the pollution and cancer systems are quite complicated. The sound statistical inference and scientific method demand us a rigor study. Nevertheless we can understand the deteriorating quality of our environment. Taiwan is no more an island called Formosa. Some people call it an island of casino or greedy.

In the coming typhoon season, people are worrying about the safety of many new built high- rise apartments in the nearby suburban of Taipei and other cities. The blooming of construction industries is at the cost of our living standards. Many new built apartments and construction projects are in unsafe conditions. We can solve the pollution of Tamshiue River which cross over most counties of Northern Taiwan only in terms of system thinking.

Last year, the flooding of Yangtze river told us the story of the pollution bomb of China . The hidden costs of the over-development are not known yet and maybe unknowable forever. Dr. Deming told us they are manageable. Indeed, this is the job and task Zhu Rongi is trying hard now, even to break a taboo last month to criticize Government planned resettlement of 1.3 millions people displaced by Three Gorges dam project. The quality of China government decision-making, its corrupted systems and out of control of cost estimations, are all too big a challenge for China central government to manage well.

I hope we can think about to slow down and downsizing our ambitious projects. With a more profound thinking, we can be more conservative but with better capability of improvement in the future. No matter the trouble is in the Gorges or in the recent controversial lies of dammed Mei-Long Dam project in south Taiwan, or the suspected crime of polluted rivers, we can learn from the concept of analytic studies for improvement and operational meaning concept of Deming. With sound knowledge, we can launch our continual efforts of improvements.

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