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Clearing air pollution won't be done in a day

2015-03-10 13:32 China Daily Web Editor: Si Huan

Thanks to a strong wind from Sunday on, clear blue sky appeared on Monday after heavy smog had shrouded Beijing for two days. Little wonder air pollution has become a hot topic for the current sessions of the National People's Congress, the top legislature, and the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the top political advisory body. It will be a topic for discussion at all the annual sessions until the air quality substantially changes for the better.[Special coverage]

In more than 300 prefecture-level cities nationwide, the air quality in 80 percent of them failed to meet the required standard, according to Chen Jining, the newly appointed minister of environmental protection. It is no longer rare for Beijing to be enveloped in smog when there has been no wind for days.

In 2014, according to the minister, the renovation of facilities for desulfurization, denitrification and dust control involved 130 million, 260 million and 240 million kilowatts in electricity generating capacity, and the installed capacity for desulfurization and denitrification has reached 95 and 82 percent. More than 6 million motor vehicles that failed to meet the exhaust emissions standard were eliminated, and so were 55,000 boilers that caused pollution.

Also last year, the public security department dealt with 2,080 criminal cases involving environmental law violations, twice the total number over the previous 10 years.

The government has made greater efforts to curb air pollution. Yet, the pollution is too serious for these efforts to produce an evident effect in such a short period of time.

There are also corrupt elements in the environmental watchdogs who turn a blind eye to violations of environmental protection law after receiving a bribe.

A lot more needs to be done to provide watchdogs with teeth and make it impossible for the watchdogs to become the accomplices of polluters. Something must also be done to make local leaders feel how imperative it is to fight pollution, so that they do not just promise a severer crackdown on the sources of pollution or pledge harsh measures against polluters just to please the public.

These are what people expect of the environmental protection minister, who took his post late last month.

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