Chinese state media performing the role of fourth estate: The Global Times rallying for a public consensus to take a hard stance on pollution. Despite the semantic gymnastics of late, tossing between words like fog, et al – the Global Times leads the way by calling it just what it is – smog. There probably isn’t an easy solution – so much of the pollution is driven by infrastructure-building on top of production, which in turns drives growth; it really is a question of how to grow in as clean a way as possible that doesn’t cut away jobs and employment downstream. And it’s not like good clean air isn’t appreciated – many I meet or bring around Australia celebrate with refreshing deep breaths, and eagerly plan return visits because… of the air.
The government needs to increase its sense of urgency and ability to implement its policies. Environmental authorities should enhance their investigation of enterprises and strengthen the punishment of those that cause pollution. Businesses that cannot meet environment protection standards must be eliminated.
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Smog solution unlikely without public help
Source – Global Times, published January 13, 2013
The toxic smog that has been shrouding the capital is expected to be dispersed by a fresh cold front on Wednesday, according to the weather forecast Monday. Recent days cloaked in choking and acrid smog have caused China to reflect on how clean air can be restored to the country.
The dense fog forced Beijing for the first time to implement an emergency response plan for hazardous pollution. According to the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau Monday, 14 inspection teams were organized to oversee pollution reduction in districts and counties of Beijing, and by Sunday night, the production of 58 enterprises had been suspended and 54 businesses had reduced their emissions by 30 percent. The bureau also said relevant authorities are cooperating to the implementation of the regulation that government cars, which make up 30 percent of Beijing’s traffic, will stay in the garages for the moment. Those emergency measures are laudable, but meanwhile, the public is questioning why the strong supervision and decisive attitude to reduce pollution cannot be included into routine work.
The lingering smog sends a warning message. Coal burning, dust and industrial and vehicle emissions are the fundamental causes of the hazardous haze this time. The government bears more responsibility for tackling the problem, but no one should be just an onlooker. Reducing pollution and improving the living environment need the participation of the whole of society. Read the rest of this entry »