China gets tough on air pollution

Updated: 2013-09-13 08:08

(China Daily)

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The action plan is deemed the toughest ever, not just because of the stringent targets it sets, but also because of its performance assessment system, which will see the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China becoming involved with an environmental action plan for the first time.

The department has the power to appoint or dismiss officials, and if local governments fail to reach their allocated targets, the positions and political futures of the officials involved may be affected, according to Wang.

However, he said the action that will be taken against officials who fail to meet the targets has yet to be formulated: "A detailed assessment method will be released to the public later, with clear indications of the repercussions for local officials if they don't achieve the targets or fail to respond to heavy pollution."

Experts called the plan a working guide for the government over the next five years. Although improvements will undoubtedly result, the public should not count on the plan to provide a total solution to the problem of pollution.

"Western countries have spent decades trying to improve their air quality, and are still trying. What China is doing here is trying its best to make improvements happen as soon as possible, but we also need to be realistic about the hardships ahead and prepare for a protracted war against pollution. It's a war that will involve every single member of the public," said Chai Fahe, vice-president of the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences.

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Jiang Xueqing and Yang Wanli contributed to this story.


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