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Smog, an alarm to be heeded

Updated: 2013-12-09 07:19
( China Daily)

Smog has become a nationwide scourge, as it has shrouded more than 100 cities all over the country in the past couple of days.

Do we still think that it has nothing to do with us, when people can hardly see each other when they are standing within five meters of one another in some eastern cities? Do we still consider environmental protection something far removed from us when we have to wear a mask so we don't develop respiratory problems?

Despite the repeated rhetoric about the importance governments at all levels need to attach to environmental protection, the impact of pollution of all kinds, including air pollution, has never gained the upper hand on economic growth.

For some, the warnings about pollution are nothing but crying wolf. They will never change their mindset until pollution of all kinds turns into a real drag holding back economic growth and social progress.

Rome was not built in a day. Neither has such heavy smog been accumulated in a short period of time.

This nationwide smog should serve as a reminder to all, government leaders, entrepreneurs and each individual as well, that we are heavily indebted to the environment. We have emitted too much harmful dust and to many gases into the air. It is high time we reflected on what we've done to the environment in the past and change our ways so we can start protecting it for the future.

We cannot afford to forget these choking days once a strong northerly wind blows off the smog and returns to us the blue sky. It is such forgetfulness that slackens our determination and efforts to control pollution. It is such forgetfulness that makes us willing to pay the price of pollution for immediate economic gains.

On the question of how to get rid of the smog and better protect the environment at large, what we need is a practical vision for sustainable economic growth and social progress. The top authorities have such a vision, and they set the goal of establishing an ecological conservation system at the third plenum of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in November.

The heavy smog that is smothering us now should hammer home the importance of all of us playing our part to realize this vision and ensure sustainable development.

(China Daily 12/09/2013 page8)