Friday, October 25, 2013

Blog 7: Response to a City’s Smog Points to a Change in Chinese Attitude

             Efforts to combat the first rush of air pollution in the autumnal season in China included citizens wearing face masks, schools shutting down, ordering large vehicles off roads, and checking tailpipe emissions in police stationed roadblocks. Northern residents fear the smog clouds are just the beginning to a harsher winter. Coal-fired systems, that have been proven to shorten life span by five years, will only contribute to the air pollution in China’s cities and rural communities. Government emergency strategies point towards solving the problem despite its past efforts that seems to only cover up the issue (says environmental activists). The Ministry of Environmental Protection is sending inspection teams to ensure environmental regulations are being enforced. Wong (2013) writes “enforcement is often a weak point, even when leaders understand that cleaning up the environment has become critical to maintaining social and political stability.” The ministry is also making efforts to 
identify those companies, whose emissions are above the regulated limits.

             Local citizens fear that while policy is great, enforcement is key to changing environmental problems for China. Execution begins to fall short when local officials who are growth and business-minded fail to comply with all regulations. An environmental advocate, Ma Jun, said that he is confident that the people of China are not happy with wearing a mask to go outside, and really want blue-sky days. Spending government money on short-term answers shouldn’t be the solution for long-term problems.

Breanna Steinke
Oct. 25 2013

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