Simply moving polluting enterprises away from cities to remote areas will not eradicate our environmental problems, says an article in People's Daily. The following is an excerpt:
Big cities face heavy environmental protection pressure. For instance, Beijing has a daily environmental index and the government also implements an annual "blue sky" plan. And environmental protection departments are especially under heavy pressure to fulfill their quota of emission cuts every year.
From this we can see that the government is very strict about emission reduction.
But how are we solving our environmental problems in large and medium-sized cities? The common practice is to move polluting enterprises such as coal-fired power and steel plants away from the cities to the remote areas.
For big cities, it produces an immediate effect. And it seems to be reasonable to move polluting enterprises to less populous places where the environment has a larger capacity to deal with pollutants. But this simple solution does not solve the pollution problem completely, and it only has a short-term effect.
The reason is quite simple: no matter whether in the city or in the countryside, the sky is the same and the land is no different. Pollutants may disappear, but in fact they are not completely dispersed. A sudden gust of wind can blow them back.
In addition, the "move-away" practice has other negative effects.
Remote areas have rather lax environmental protection measures, for the governments there are usually more concerned with GDP growth. Without adequate pressure on enterprises, less attention is paid to preventing pollution.
So, the fundamental way to solve our environmental problems is to adopt economic and legal measures, and raise awareness of the enterprises. The "move-away" method only delays the treatment of pollution.
(China Daily March 27, 2008)