Home >> OP-ED

Questions raised by heavy smog deserve direct answers

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-1-31 0:03:01

Since Monday, more than 30 cities in Central and Eastern China have once again been shrouded in heavy smog. This rings alarm bells for China's rough economic development. Chinese people have to take action to resolutely struggle against worsening air quality.

On Tuesday, the Beijing municipal government took emergency emission reduction measures, including the suspension of 30 percent of the city's official vehicles for three days and ordering 103 heavily polluting factories to halt production. These measures may ease the pollution, but their effects are only temporary.

Heavy haze reflects an unreasonable energy consumption structure, problems in our industrial structure and way of life, and even some problems in our institutions. If smoggy weather could be connected to the political careers of the city's leaders, it would be a strong driving force for them to curb pollution.

Intentionally or not, most people are the causes of air pollution. Therefore, everybody should undertake their responsibility to bring back blue skies. The problem is that many people are enthusiastic when investigating other people's responsibilities but are unwilling to shoulder their own responsibilities.

In our daily lives, many actions can be taken to contribute to energy conservation, such as lowering indoor heating temperatures in the northern part of the country, reducing waste and vigorously developing public transportation. As the Spring Festival draws near, some media have proposed a ban on fireworks during the smoggy weather. We believe that this proposal is reasonable and practicable.

China's rapid development has brought us many benefits as well as accumulated many problems. Environmental protection should take up a more prominent position in China's future strategy even if it means that China's economic development will slow down.

The grim reality of the pollution should force officials to take an open and pragmatic attitude toward environmental protection and prompt the public to stop putting the blame on others and undertake their own responsibilities.

Chinese people should not tolerate environmental pollution for the pursuit of wealth. If that is the case, our values will also be influenced. In the era of globalization, it will increase the possibility of clashes between China and the outside world.

We should bravely confront the sharp questions being raised about air pollution and be clear about what we really want. We should adjust the relationship between development and environmental pollution and strike a long-term balance between the two.

As a developing power with a large population and an industrialization process that is not yet complete, we cannot expect the environmental result that developed countries have already achieved. However, we cannot keep going with the situation that we have today.

Posted in: Observer