Gallup poll a bit hazy over air quality satisfaction

Updated: 2013-11-26 08:21

By Chen Weihua (China Daily USA)

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The bad air quality has become a source of frequent public complaints in recent years. In some cities, the public has taken action to protest the construction of chemical plants and other polluting manufacturing facilities in their neighborhoods.

People are also gravely concerned about air pollution's wide range of health hazards to respiratory, reproductive and other systems of the body.

The recent smog and haze in China has drawn the attention of international media as well. A photo taken from NASA's orbiting Suomi-NPP satellite on Oct 21 and published on the Time magazine website shows eastern China cloaked in smog.

Public anger at the poor air quality has sparked heated debate over China's development model, in which environmental protection lags far behind its breakneck economic growth. Many have questioned the meaning of a well-off society if its citizens only have more money but a nearly toxic environment.

The current government led by President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have realized the urgency of the crisis. "Ecological civilization" has been a highlight in both the 18th CPC Congress a year ago and its Third Plenum two weeks ago.

Li has repeatedly vowed this year to implement 10 major measures to fight air pollution, such as reducing pollution emissions, limiting the capacity of high-pollution and high-energy consumption industries, promoting clean energy, restructuring the energy mix and strengthening law enforcement.

No one, not even the Chinese leaders, believe such a battle can be won easily and within a short period of time.

So it must be that either the Gallup poll got their numbers wrong, or the people they talked to on the Chinese mainland have much lower standards for quality air.

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