En­vi­ron­men­tal com­mit­ments

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - — BEI­JING YOUTH DAILY

Af­ter spe­cial en­vi­ron­men­tal in­spec­tions by the top en­vi­ron­ment watch­dog ex­posed some se­ri­ous is­sues, seven pro­vin­cial-level gov­ern­ments in­clud­ing Bei­jing and Shang­hai re­cently made pub­lic their rec­ti­fi­ca­tion plans. Most of them have set up a lead­ing group with their top leader act­ing as the head to su­per­vise the rec­ti­fi­ca­tion work, and adopted a list sys­tem that sets out con­crete re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, re­me­dial mea­sures, spe­cific tar­gets and dead­lines.

In its rec­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram, for in­stance, Bei­jing pub­lished a list of 47 de­tailed tasks, in­clud­ing try­ing to con­trol the in­ten­sity of PM2.5 in the at­mos­phere within 60 mi­cro­grams per cu­bic me­ter this year and re­duc­ing the PM2.5 in­ten­sity by 30 per­cent by 2020 from the 2015 level. It also vowed to keep its city-wide pol­luted wa­ter treat­ment ra­tio above 95 per­cent by the end of 2020.

Cen­tral China’s Hubei prov­ince vowed to shut down all coal pro­duc­ers within two years.

Such ac­tion lists are a list of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. On the en­vi­ron­ment is­sue, lo­cal gov­ern­ments’ en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion pro­grams are not just a re­sponse to the top en­vi­ron­ment watch­dog’s or­ders, they are a solemn com­mit­ment to the pub­lic that they will cor­rect their past wrong­do­ings in en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion. Such a com­mit­ment can­not be dis­counted even a bit.

Past ex­pe­ri­ences in­di­cate that it is yet to be seen whether these good-look­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion plans will have any no­tice­able ef­fects. Tight­ened su­per­vi­sion has proven to be the key to the ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of such plans in the past.

The rec­ti­fi­ca­tion lists drawn up by the lo­cal gov­ern­ments af­ter in­spec­tions by the top en­vi­ron­ment watch­dog not only re­flect the lead­er­ship’s hard­ened re­solve to strengthen en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, but also mark an im­por­tant step to­ward this tar­get.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping has stressed that a good ecol­ogy is a pub­lic prod­uct that is fair to all. Given that peo­ple to­day are more aware of en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems and health risks posed by pol­lu­tion, lo­cal gov­ern­ments can­not af­ford to ig­nore en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion any more.

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