Prevention First -- Key to Water Source Protection

"Prevention first" should be the most effective way of protecting water sources, a member of China's top advisory body said.

During group discussions at the current annual session of the Ninth Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Liu Changmou said the "prevention first" approach stresses the stopping of new polluting sources, which would otherwise be extremely harmful.

The deteriorating environment at present is, in the first place, the result of "our failure to make "prevention first" the principle for environmental protection.

But it is not too late if we start now to implement the " prevention first" principle and formulate effective preventive measures for new pollution sources. In this way, the existing polluting sources will be eliminated one by one, sooner or later, he said.

For small and medium-sized enterprises that discharge pollutants, he noted, we should provide them with the space for survival, say, confining them to a particular industrial park that can treat pollutants in an unified manner. But for larger enterprises, we should introduce the environmental protection appraisal system and pollution should be controlled within a prescribed time limit while measures should be taken to prevent the birth of new polluting sources.

For city effluence, which accounts for 60 percent to 70 percent of pollutants in water, Liu said, it is up to the government to effectuate control through social forces.

(People’s Daily 03/12/2001)