For a better environment

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, June 5, 2013
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The worldwide theme for World Environment Day on Wednesday is "Think, Eat, Save".

The government has already officially backed the Clean Your Plate campaign, or guangpan xingdong in Chinese, which was started in January by micro-bloggers in a bid to stop food waste, by calling on officials to cut down on extravagant banquets paid for with public funds.

It is necessary for all of us to finish what is on our plates, especially those who host guests at public expense, to reduce the staggering amount of food that is wasted.

However, the Ministry of Environmental Protection's theme for China - "Breathing and Working Together"- is of particular relevance to the nation, as we must work together to improve the quality of our air and water.

While 91.4 percent of the 325 cities at prefecture level or above met the 1996 air quality standards last year, only 23.9 percent of 113 key cities met the latest standards, introduced last year, which are stricter than before.

Beijing residents were plagued by many hazy days this winter. Despite the municipal government's promise to clear up the air, residents are not that optimistic that the air will improve significantly in the next few years, because the severity of the problem is right before their eyes.

As well as the air, people are also deeply concerned about the state of the nation's water. Monitoring by the environmental ministry has revealed that 57.3 percent of the groundwater in 198 cities across the country is bad or extremely bad, and more than 30 percent of the country's major rivers are seriously polluted.

Despite the fact that chemical oxygen demand, an indicator of pollution levels, and the total discharge of all other toxic substances, such as ammonia, nitrides, carbon dioxide all decreased in 2012 compared with the previous year, the environment will not improve simply by reducing the discharge of pollutants.

Money must be spent on improving the environment while constantly reducing the discharge of pollutants.

And we all need to think not just about the amount of food we order, but also about the effect our actions and behavior will have on the environment.

China owes a huge debt to the environment and has a long way to go before realizing the "beautiful China" dream. We must work together to achieve that goal.


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