Accountability system is needed to clean the air

Updated: 2014-10-15 11:17

By Li Yang(

  Comments() Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

Every heavily polluted day is a test of the government’s ability to treat pollution. The Environmental Protection Ministry’s supervision of the several days of smoggy weather in North China last week exposed loopholes in local governments’ pollution treatment measures, says an article of the Beijing News.


According to the ministry’s inspection, some local governments’ emergency mechanism and contingency plan for the smoggy air only exist on paper. Most of them cannot be implemented to control or treat the pollution.

Although solving the issue will take a long time, local governments’ inaction on the serious threat to public health makes people feel the officials do not care about their feelings, and the emergency mechanism and contingency plan are only made to fulfill the task assigned by the higher authority.

For example, Handan city of Hebei province’s emergency mechanism in smoggy days only applies to the downtown area. The suburban areas of the city, where industries concentrate, are exempt from the emergency mechanism.

In Xingtai city of Hebei province, many construction sites are still operating with the sands and cement exposed in the open air during smoggy days. These actions violate local authority’s rules on air-pollution control. But none of the construction sites saw any law-enforcement or administration personnel turn up to intervene with their practices.

Environmental protection is not only the job of the environmental protection departments. The government should make it clear that all relevant departments, such as the transportation and industry administrations, are legally liable to clean the environment.

There should be a strict accountability system on environment pollution in the government system to urge the officials to take the issue seriously.