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Boost environmental protection | Updated: 2013-02-22 20:22

An investigation into a chemical spill from a company in Shanxi province that polluted nearby areas has finally reached a conclusion.

After the investigation, 38 local officials were punished for their handling of the matter, said an article in the People’s Daily. Excerpts:

It was a serious mistake for the local environmental authority to hide the accident from superior departments, violating regulations and failing to make timely and accurate judgments.

Even though serious pollution accidents don’t happen everywhere, an increasing number of local governments have to deal with increasing public anxiety about the environment.

They should not only report accidents according to the rules, but also learn how to respond quickly to public queries.

As the public becomes increasingly sensitive to environmental risks and is keeping an eye on environmental authorities, environmental issues are under increased scrutiny.

Environmental departments should give more active responses to ease public anxiety and guarantee public participation when accidents are exposed by the media. They should find out the truth quickly to gain the people’s trust.

Environmental authorities should also show their expertise by warning of problems beforehand.

Environmental issues concern every citizen and are prone to becoming public events. To prevent them from turning into social risks, environmental departments should give timely responses using their professional knowledge, in order to relieve environmental anxiety.

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