Prioritizing environment over development
Updated: 2013-07-24 20:46
Environment Minister Zhou Shengxian announced at an international environment forum that an action plan drawn up by the State Council to curb air pollution will be issued by the end of July or early August. This is welcome but other measures must also be taken, said an article in the 21st Century Business Herald (excerpts below).
It is easier to identify those high energy-consuming and polluting industries such as steel and cement, than it is to curb their emissions.
Local environment impact assessment entails a third-party and neutral evaluation. More importantly, assessments should be open to the public who have a right to know.
However, currently, the launch of a project is mainly at the helm of local governments. Some projects are launched before going through environmental evaluations.
We need to change the mindset by incorporating the environmental efforts into the evaluation of officials' performances.
Environmental authorities should take the lead in conducting research on water, air and soil conditions across the country and give a meticulous response to those tainted rivers and "cancer villages" in media reports.