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China Daily Website

Call for action against groundwater pollution

Updated: 2013-02-18 21:33
( chinadaily.com.cn)

Illegal dumping of wastewater from unscrupulous enterprises has been going on for a long time because of local authorities' dereliction of duty. It is the neglect of environmental regulations that results in the severity of groundwater pollution, says an editorial in Beijing Youth Daily. Excerpts:

Micro-bloggers who went home during the Spring Festival revealed pictures of how some enterprises have injected wastewater into the waterways in their hometowns. Some businesses were said to have used high-pressure wells to pump toxic water into the ground.

In some places, groundwater pollution has brought about severe health hazards for local people. It threatens people's lives, the livelihoods of future generations, and endangers the local ecology and environment.

However, despite the severity of the pollution and the public outcry, relevant parties have yet to give an official response, according to xinhua.net. There is a lack of governance, supervision and law enforcement from relevant parties.

First, environmental authorities at all levels bear responsibility for the recent groundwater scandals. Discharging wastewater underground is not an isolated phenomenon in one or two cases, but has developed like an epidemic disease in many enterprises. However, local environment authorities have ignored groundwater pollution. If the Ministry of Environmental Protection does not attach great importance to the phenomenon and does not call upon local governments to act, then groundwater pollution cannot be solved.

Public security authorities are also involved. Injecting chemical wastewater underground, which harms people's health, obviously violates the law. In the face of incidents endangering public security, citizen disclosure and media coverage cannot solve the problem at its roots. Police should take the initiative in carrying out comprehensive criminal investigations to unveil the truth.

Third, local procuratorates should have played a role in stopping massive underground dumping. In a society governed by the rule of law, procuratorates should have been acute enough to carry out timely investigations into the dereliction of relevant government departments that have turned a blind eye to the long-term underground dumping issue.

Although the public and media have "declared a war" against groundwater pollution, there has been no official actions from relevant parties. It is imperative that authorities at all levels take forceful measures to tackle the problem of groundwater pollution, and to eliminate the social harms brought by it.