Leg­is­la­tor praised for anti-pol­lu­tion ef­forts

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By HU YONGQI huy­ongqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A leg­is­la­tor from Shan­dong prov­ince has been hailed for his per­sis­tence over the past five years to push for new reg­u­la­tions to tackle air pol­lu­tion and im­prove the na­tion’s man­age­ment of the en­vi­ron­ment.

A deputy to the Na­tional People’s Congress for the past seven years, Song Xin­fang, di­rec­tor of the Hon­ey­bee Re­search In­sti­tute of Dongy­ing, Shan­dong prov­ince, sub­mit­ted an anti-smog pro­posal this year. Last year, smog af­fected more than 100 cities, prompt­ing the cen­tral govern­ment to en­act a num­ber of mea­sures to curb pol­lu­tion.

In March 2013, he pro­posed that the num­ber of ve­hi­cles al­lowed on roads and the con­sump­tion of coal be re­duced in ma­jor cities such as Bei­jing and Shang­hai, and in Guang­dong prov­ince. Af­ter his 2013 pro­posal, the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion re­quired that lev­els of PM 2.5 drop by 25 per­cent in the Bei­jing-Tian­jin-He­bei hub, 20 per­cent in the Yangtze River Delta re­gion and 15 per­cent in the Pearl River Delta re­gion based on the amount of emis­sions in 2012.

“The En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Min­istry called me back about three months af­ter I sub­mit­ted my pro­posal, and I think the new reg­u­la­tion en­com­passed my ideas,” Song said. Song’s pro­posal this year calls for a new anti-pol­lu­tion law that in­cludes PM 2.5 and other new pol­lu­tants as well as bet­ter govern­ment man­age­ment of the en­vi­ron­ment.

“Cur­rently, the pun­ish­ment for vi­o­la­tors is too light. What’s worse, con­tam­i­nat­ing fac­to­ries are usu­ally the big­gest con­trib­u­tors to lo­cal govern­ment rev­enues, which makes it harder to shut them down,” he said.

Song be­gan col­lect­ing in­for­ma­tion for his first pro­posal in 2009 af­ter his fam­ily’s first ex­pe­ri­ence with smog.

That year, Song and his fam­ily drove through heavy smog re­turn­ing to Dongy­ing af­ter trav­el­ing to a nearby tourist spot.

“Each of my fam­ily mem­bers didn’t know what smog was un­til that day. The air seemed to be sticky, and we could hardly breathe,” he said.

Song soon be­gan re­quest­ing in­for­ma­tion about smog and sug­ges­tions about how to deal with it from the pub­lic. Song said he re­ceived at least 100 sug­ges­tions a day in the weeks leading up to the 2009 two ses­sions. Over the past five years, Song said he has fielded an in­creas­ing num­ber of com­plaints about the smog, wa­ter con­tam­i­na­tion and food safety.

Song said his obli­ga­tion is to care­fully re­search the is­sues that the pub­lic cares about and bring their opin­ions to light for the na­tion’s top lead­er­ship. “My goal is very sim­ple: To make a dif­fer­ence with what I have seen and heard,” he said.

Song Xin­fang,

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