Environment no small matter
Aspecial inspection by the central government from Feb 12 to March 3 found that Qilian Mountain National Nature Reserve in Gansu province had failed to resolve its long-existing pollution problems and environmental degradation despite being ordered to rectify the problems. Mining and exploitation activities inside the reserve destroyed the vegetation cover and eroded the soil and 14 mines were still working even after the central government banned the practice in the nature reserve in 2014.
The inspection team also found illegal constructions and excessive emissions by local enterprises, according to a document jointly released by the general offices of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council, China’s Cabinet, on Thursday.
The severe pollution and environmental degradation in the nature reserve were mainly the result of the poor environmental protection performance of the provincial, city and county governments and their failure to make every effort to implement the instructions of the central government.
Based on the results of the inspection, the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee is holding some provincial and county level officials accountable.
That China’s supreme decision-making body held a meeting on the issue demonstrates the high attention the top leadership is paying to protecting the environment. And that three provincial-level officials and 15 other local officials of various local government departments have been punished, including being dismissed and given stern warnings, is a reflection of the authorities’ determination to punish those who fail in their duty to protect the environment. President Xi Jinping always attaches great importance to the environment and ecosystem, saying the country needs not only golden and silver hills, but also green hills and clean water. The severe punishments given the officials for the pollution and environmental damage in the Qilian Mountain Nature Reserve reflects the top leadership’s intensified efforts and greater determination to protect the country’s environment.