Survey discovers little awareness of the environment and its effect on health
A survey has found a relatively low level of awareness about health and the environment in China, and a lack of knowledge of effective tools for people to protect their rights.
The report, released on Monday by theChinese Society for Environmental Sciences, found that less than 9 percent of respondents in Beijing, and Hubei and Gansu provinces possessed basic knowledge and skills related to health and the environment.
Zhu Zhongjun, a researcher with the organization, said many of the respondents possessed some information about close links between public health and the environment, but failed to understand how pollution worsens health, and other more in-depth questions.
“The lack of such knowledge will hinder people from making an accurate judgment on pollution, adds to health risks, and may cause them to act in illegal ways concerning their rights,” Zhu said, adding that it could increase governments costs in social management.
For example, projects like incineration and chemical plants can be strongly resisted by residents. If governments could communicate necessary information to people about their health and the environment, that would improve the situation and increase awareness, said Wang Jiansheng, a researcher from the Policy Research Center for Environment and Economy, of the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
“China has put more focus on increasing public awareness of health and the environment, and the ministry is drafting regulations to promote that work,” Wang said, adding that the ministry would soon solicit public opinion.
In addition, to further protect people’s health rights, the central government also plans to draft a new national action plan with more coordinated efforts, he said.
Currently, a working committee combining 17 ministerial-level departments is leading the work to protect public health against pollution.
of people surveyed in Beijing, and Hubei and Gansu provinces possessed basic knowledge and skills related to health and the environment. CommentEditorial>