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Business / Green China

A battle that must be won

By Wang Lili (China Daily) Updated: 2014-02-27 07:19

Measures on environmental issues have to be solid and lasting in order to realize the dream of a beautiful homeland

The severe smog that plagues a broad swathe of China is a warning sign of the country's deteriorating environment. The various environmental problems that have accumulated in the process of the country's accelerating industrialization and urbanization and the increasing constraint of resources mean the Chinese dream of building a beautiful homeland will be remote if these problems are not addressed.

China is not the first country to suffer an environmental crisis. Britain, the United States, Japan and other developed countries have also been challenged by pollution and environmental degradation during their development.

In Britain, people still call London "The Big Smoke", a nickname bestowed on it because of the thick smog that used to envelope it. The air pollution peaked in 1952, when the so-called Great Smog caused 12,000 deaths in December, making it one of the world's most serious environmental incidents in the 20th century. British people paid more attention to the environment after this, and the country's first bill on air pollution prevention and treatment was introduced in 1956. After over half a century of effort, London has achieved remarkable progresses in improving its air quality.

There are many similarities between the UK in the 1950s and China today, including the per capita gross domestic product and the energy structure. But the environmental crisis facing China is more complicated. With its continuous and rapid economic development over the past decades, China has witnessed faster and larger-scale industrialization and urbanization than other countries, but it has also paid a heavier price in terms of its environment and resources.

The government has attached high importance to tackling the country's environmental problems and it is strengthening and introducing policies, laws and regulations to ensure better protection and treatment. However, dealing with the environmental crisis is a systematic project that is the responsibility of everyone in society, not just the government.

China should adopt an environmental model that not only demands the government play a leading role, but also values the role of ordinary individuals and the media's role of publicity and monitoring, and as a bridge between the government, enterprises, the public and academia. Experts should play a key role in leading public opinion and come up with some constructive proposals and programs.

A battle that must be won

A battle that must be won

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