Let watchdog do its work
Qu Geping, former director of the State Environmental Protection
Administration (SEPA), admitted on Wednesday that some of the country's
environmental protection targets have never been met in the past 25 years.
Authorities from the SEPA revealed on the same day that some of the goals for
the 10th Five-Year Plan (2000-05) have not been achieved, either.
Both pieces of news send a message that there have been difficulties in
carrying out measures by environmental watchdogs at various levels to achieve
the set targets.
Further news from the SEPA that environmental watchdog offices for large
regions will be established confirms this message.
Such offices for large regions, according to the SEPA, will be directly under
the auspices of the SEPA and their workers will be directly dispatched by the
SEPA as well.
This move will hopefully help resist interference from local governments with
the implementation of environmental protection rules or measures, according to
Environmental protection administrations at local levels are under the
leadership of local governments. As a result, how their role of watchdog is
played, to a large extent, depends on whether local governments support their
work or not.
Environmental protection law stipulates that any project that may cause
pollution must be subject to environmental impact assessment by relevant
departments. Yet, many pollution cases involving discharge or emission of
pollutants from industrial enterprises suggest that such procedures have not
been carried out, at least to the letter, in many localities.
How could the construction of these polluting plants get the green light from
local governments? How did the local environmental watchdog play their role of
assessing the environmental impact?
If the local environmental watchdog was able to function in an effective
manner, these plants would not have been there.
What prevents the local environmental watchdogs from functioning as they are
entitled to is interference from local government authorities, who always place
economic benefits before consideration for the environment when the two are in
We hope the new move by the SEPA will change this embarrassing