left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Response to pollution claims is lacking

Updated: 2013-02-18 21:39
( chinadaily.com.cn)

The local government of Weifang, Shandong province should welcome public participation as they deal with online allegations that a number of enterprises have contributed to serious groundwater pollution, says an article in Beijing News. Excerpts:

The information spread widely by Chinese netizens online about the shocking ways some chemical enterprises in Weifang discharge waste has prompted grave social concerns. It was reported the companies use high-pressure equipment to discharge dangerous waste some 1,000 meters underground. The companies had passed a government eco assessment and seemed to be eco-friendly, with zero emissions on the surface.

In response to the claims, the local government has launched an urgent survey on waste discharging enterprises and has offered a 100,000 yuan ($16,023) bonus for any information concerning the allegations.

This kind of waste discharge puts people's lives and water security in great danger. Only by inviting public supervision and encouraging people to report wrongdoers, can the government restore society's confidence.

According to the local government, in less than three days, from Feb 15 to 17, the five supervision teams it sent have inspected 715 enterprises. They claim to have found no evidence of the practices that were detailed online. But one cannot help but question the quality of the inspections if five team have to inspect as many as 47 enterprises a day.

Direct evidence may not be easily acquired by common people, but the indirect consequences of polluted or poor water quality — rivers with abnormal color and rising incidences of cancer — cannot be more obvious.

It's sad to say that what the local government has done to deal with the issue is not enough; moreover, it should reflect on its hasty inspection efforts. It should invite broader supervision by the public and respond to the latters' leads or reports with more detailed information.