Haze is not me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal dis­as­ter

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - BEI­JING HAS PUB­LISHED

the third draft of reg­u­la­tions for pre­vent­ing and con­trol­ling me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal dis­as­ters. The draft reg­u­la­tions aroused fierce pub­lic dis­cus­sion as smog is listed as a me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal dis­as­ter. Maybe the reg­u­la­tions are meant to mo­bi­lize more re­sources to fight smog, but it seems that it makes it eas­ier for of­fi­cials to shirk their re­spon­si­bil­ity for good air qual­ity, says hsw.cn:

Li Xiao­juan, the spokesper­son for the leg­isla­tive af­fairs com­mit­tee of Bei­jing peo­ple’s congress, the lo­cal leg­is­la­ture, said they in­cluded smog as me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal dis­as­ter be­cause they hoped to strengthen the aware­ness of the need for the whole of so­ci­ety to tackle smog. The move would not change the mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment’s lead­ing role in fight­ing smog, Li said.

These words sound rea­son­able, but they are fun­da­men­tally flawed be­cause smog is not a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter. Ac­cord­ing to the cur­rent Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Law, me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal dis­as­ters are nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, such as ty­phoons, storms, sand­storms, high tem­per­a­ture, drought, light­en­ing and hail; these dis­as­ters can­not be pre­vented un­der the cur­rent con­di­tions. We can only pro­tect our­selves and re­duce any dam­age when it hap­pens.

Smog is dif­fer­ent from a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter be­cause it is a prod­uct of in­dus­trial pol­lu­tion, and it could be pre­vented if we curb our pol­lu­tion. Smoggy weather means our pol­lu­tion is rather heavy and we have much to do to curb the pol­lu­tion. Thus it is sci­en­tif­i­cally wrong to put smog in the list of me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal dis­as­ters.

More im­por­tantly, by re­defin­ing smog as a “me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal dis­as­ter”, of­fi­cials could eas­ily shirk off their re­spon­si­bil­ity. If the draft passes, that will leave a loop­hole in the law to help il­le­gal pol­luters and en­vi­ron­men­tal qual­ity su­per­vi­sors who fail in their duty to es­cape their de­served pun­ish­ment.

A look at me­dia re­ports and so­cial net­works shows that the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple op­pose the in­clu­sion of smog in the list of me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal dis­as­ters, be­cause only with com­mon con­sen­sus of the so­ci­ety could we bet­ter curb smog.

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