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Joint efforts crucial for treating regional air pollution | Updated: 2013-03-07 20:28

Neighboring Beijing and Tianjin municipalities, as well as Hebei province, should organize joint efforts to treat heavy air pollution in the region, says an article in Beijing News. Excerpts:

Beijing's heavy smog and haze early this year forced many residents to wear masks in the open air and drew national concern. The fact that seven of the 10 heaviest polluted cities are in Hebei is also terrifying.

Although administrative divisions can be artificially defined, the flowing air and water, once polluted, will cause harm across the boundaries. Take coal burning - the major source of PM 2.5 - as an example. Beijing annually burns 20 million metric tons of coal, Tianjin some 70 million tons and Hebei as many as 200 million tons. Only joint efforts can help to tackle the PM 2.5 problem in this integrated region.

To learn a lesson from an aniline-leak accident in Changzhi, Shanxi province, the local government even failed to inform downstream areas of the chemical contamination. So for both ongoing treatment of pollution and emergencies, coordinated efforts should be legislated with responsibilities on all sides. Existing mechanisms implemented in the Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta regions in jointly treating pollution should be strengthened and raised to a mandatory level.

As Premier Wen Jiabao's Government Work Report has pointed out, treating environmental pollution should focus on unifying standards and improving the system of relevant laws and regulations. Next, attention should be paid to regional joint efforts, and the sooner, the better.

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