Sur­vey dis­cov­ers lit­tle aware­ness of the en­vi­ron­ment and its ef­fect on health

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHENG JIN­RAN zhengjin­ran@chinadaily.com.cn

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>

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