Public's optimism low that air quality will improve

Updated: 2014-12-31 07:44

By Xu Wei(China Daily)

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Public confidence about improvement of air quality across the country remains moderate at best, according to a recent report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Less than half, 47.4 percent, of those surveyed said they believe the country's air quality will improve in the next three years, while 14.9 percent said they believe air pollution will get worse, the report said.

More than 37 percent of people polled said they are dissatisfied with the air quality in their cities, with only 28 percent saying the quality was satisfactory.

The report polled more than 7,100 people in 24 provincial areas, seeking their evaluations of current conditions and their environmental expectations for the future in their cities, including the quality of air, tap water, garbage disposal, urban landscaping and quality of water in rivers and lakes.

The report was released one year after the Chinese government imposed one of its toughest measures ever to tackle pollution.

The Airborne Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan (2013-17), unveiled by the Ministry of Environmental Protection in September 2013, sets goals for the nation's 338 biggest cities.

However, the report suggested that the action plan has failed to swing public confidence in the government's promises to control air pollution by 2017.

Deng Zigang, a researcher with the National Institute of Social Development at the social sciences academy, said public confidence about air quality has been the lowest of all categories surveyed for three consecutive years.

"Despite efforts from the authorities to improve air quality, it still failed the public's expectations," he said. "The figures also indicate that air quality is the area in which the public has the strongest wish for improvement. It is also a major area the authorities should work on in the next few years."

The report also found that public confidence about improvements in water quality is not high. Only 49.1 percent of respondents said they believe the quality of tap water will improve in the next three years. Another 33.9 percent believed tap water quality will remain the same.

The public shows higher confidence about the improvement of urban landscaping in the next three years, with 65.8 percent of respondents saying they believe landscaping in their cities will improve.

(China Daily 12/31/2014 page4)