Pollution reduction efforts need teeth

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, January 30, 2013
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Chinese authorities need to put more stricter measures in force when talking about reducing pollution, as more than 10 percent of the country was shrouded by thick smog this week.

Looking to be determined in reducing air pollution, cities like Beijing have announced plans to shut down heavily polluting plants in urban areas and cut the number of government-owned cars running on the streets.

The moves sound encouraging, but when it comes to actual practice, much stricter supervision has to be implemented to make sure they are followed.

The very reason China is facing such a poor pollution situation is slack supervision. A relevant incident took place in early January in north China's Shanxi Province - environmental authorities did not tell the public that poisonous liquid aniline had tainted a major river until five days after it was detected.

Some experts also blame the country's oil giants for churning out substandard products that have increased pollution emissions from automobiles.

Although it is easy to blame businesses for their lack of social responsibility, the fact is that it is the government's job to keep such behavior in check, instead of just covering it up.

Some local governments fail to take pollution issues seriously, resulting in mass protests in some areas. Some governments have even attempted to silence protestors for fear of losing face and tax money.

It is time for authorities to stop focusing on boosting the GDP and take real action to change China's economic growth pattern.

In the meantime, Chinese legislators need to work out stricter laws to punish polluters and those who cover up for them.

China currently has an Environmental Protection Law and dozens of other specific laws regarding pollution of the air, soil, forests and water.

However, laws on paper do not necessarily equate with effective implementation. Many businesses and government officials have sidestepped or completely ignored such laws.

Therefore, while enhancing legislation, authorities must improve supervision by making it more convenient for the public to report on polluters and severely punishing environmental officials who are caught shirking their duties.

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has said that the people are the source of China's power.

However, it is the people who must now depend on the government to lift the smog that has choked so many cities, as well as make other efforts to ensure a greener tomorrow.


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