More needed in pollution response
Updated: 2013-10-24 21:49
On Tuesday, Beijing adopted an emergency response plan to deal with air pollution. Four alert levels will indicate the pollution level and flexible working hours will accompany a red alert. That's a good move, said an editorial in Beijing News (excerpts below).
There have long been discussions about relations between air pollution and cancer; a recent finding by the International Agency for Research on Cancer seemed to back this up.
In other words, staying outdoors in heavy air pollution might increase your risk of getting cancer.
That's why the newly released Beijing Municipal Air Pollution Emergency Response Program is welcome.
A red alert means that schools should suspend classes while enterprises and agencies should adopt flexible working schedules.
The measure will not only protect employees' health, but also help curb air pollution by cutting traffic emission.
However, not all enterprises can sacrifice profits for the health of their employees and "pollution leave" is an untested concept.
A better proposal might be for the government to announce that only the vital public services should work on days of high pollution. Profits can be won back, good health can not.