The toxic smog that has been shrouding the capital is expected to be dispersed by a fresh cold front on Wednesday, according to the weather forecast Monday. Recent days cloaked in choking and acrid smog have caused China to reflect on how clean air can be restored to the country.
The dense fog forced Beijing for the first time to implement an emergency response plan for hazardous pollution. According to the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau Monday, 14 inspection teams were organized to oversee pollution reduction in districts and counties of Beijing, and by Sunday night, the production of 58 enterprises had been suspended and 54 businesses had reduced their emissions by 30 percent. The bureau also said relevant authorities are cooperating to the implementation of the regulation that government cars, which make up 30 percent of Beijing's traffic, will stay in the garages for the moment. Those emergency measures are laudable, but meanwhile, the public is questioning why the strong supervision and decisive attitude to reduce pollution cannot be included into routine work.
The lingering smog sends a warning message. Coal burning, dust and industrial and vehicle emissions are the fundamental causes of the hazardous haze this time. The government bears more responsibility for tackling the problem, but no one should be just an onlooker. Reducing pollution and improving the living environment need the participation of the whole of society.
The government needs to increase its sense of urgency and ability to implement its policies. Environmental authorities should enhance their investigation of enterprises and strengthen the punishment of those that cause pollution. Businesses that cannot meet environment protection standards must be eliminated.
Reducing vehicle emissions, boosting public traffic use and using clean energy should be taken seriously and promoted in practice. Los Angeles in the 1940s witnessed booming private cars and the increased emissions caused a toxic chemical fog claiming hundreds of lives. It is a grave lesson for China.
Society has reached a consensus on pollution reduction. But it's still difficult to promote low carbon habits in daily life among public. If all the Chinese could change their environmental-unfriendly living habits and style, reducing pollutants would be an attainable goal.
Compared with complaining about the air quality online, it's better for everybody to take practical actions to wage a war against pollution.