Give law greater clout in battle against pollution
By Jiang Ping (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-07-31 10:12
On November 13, 2005, a blast at the Jilin Chemical Plant caused the leakage
of tons of benzene, aniline and nitrobenzene into the Songhua River. This, in
turn, threatened the health of millions of people living along its banks, whose
drinking water comes from the river.
Water is indispensable to farming, industry, communications and people's
everyday lives. This shows the vital importance of protecting water resources,
which is an integral part of our environmental protection efforts.
The conflicting interests of localities in the upper and lower reaches of the
Songhua River asserted themselves in this accident.
Under such circumstances, the enforcement of environmental laws needs to be
strengthened, taking into account that we have already had a fairly complete set
of environmental legislation in place.
Environmental matters, particularly those covering water resources, involve
public and private rights, which sometimes conflict with each other.
Environmental protection, social security, compulsory education and
healthcare undertakings, for example, fall under the category of public
services. The development of China's market economy over the past three decades
or so has created sharp gaps between the demand for and supply of such public
services, while largely meeting the demand for private goods such as TV sets,
cars and housing.
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