Detailed regulation needed to better curb air pollution

Updated: 2013-09-02 23:04


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The Ministry of Environmental Protection recently said it would hold accountable those officials who fail in their duty to cope with air pollution this winter. An editorial in the Beijing News welcomes the move and expects more detailed measures (excerpts below).

According to Xinhua News Agency, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said it would take new measures to deal with possible air pollution in and near Beijing this winter. Officials found to have failed in their duties in coping with air pollution will be held accountable.

The government, which collects taxes from citizens, has the responsibility of maintaining a clean, safe environment. However, Beijing and nearby regions have suffered from smog for several winters in a row, with hardly any official being held responsible. The Ministry of Environmental Protection has done a good, welcome deed.

However, the ministry may need a further detailed regulation to define "failure of duty". Heavy pollution has many causes, and many officials from various departments are involved in coping with it. Generally, there are two kinds of "failure of duty".

First, responsible officials might fail to maintain environmental protection in daily jobs, like approving programs with heavy pollution or failing to supervise enterprises making emissions.

Second, when air pollution happens, they might fail to take immediate measures, thus worsening the situation.

Both kinds of failure of duty should be clearly stated by a detailed regulation, so that responsible officials would no longer be able to pass the buck. With duties clearly defined, the officials would also give up taking chances in dealing with pollution.

It is already September and smoggy conditions could soon be here. Hopefully, the new measures from the Ministry of Environmental Protection will be effective this time and will free residents from last year’s heavy smog.