- Language Tips
The severest ever smog that has shrouded most of North China and some parts of East China since Thursday is expected to last a week; an unwelcome reminder of the scale of the task the country faces in tackling all kinds of pollution.
Despite the 10-article rules for air pollution control the State Council released in June, it is not possible for the efforts to combat pollution to realize an immediate turn for the better given the air pollution we suffer today is the result of many years of industrial development without ever paying enough attention to pollution control.
And there is also some dragging of feet, as the elimination of such pollution emitters as cement and steel plants would put a big dent in many local governments' revenues, and upgrading industrial facilities to control pollution requires extra input, which is usually the last thing local governments want to do.
So tough measures are needed to change the mindset of local government leaders and punish those who place the size of their gross domestic product before the sustainability of economic growth. Only when they feel the pain their heedless industrial development inflicts will they be able to develop the necessary sense of responsibility to pursue sustainable development.
What makes air pollution control even more difficult is the lack of awareness of individual responsibility.
Many people wear masks and even use air purifiers to clean the air within their homes, but not many are willing to do whatever they can to reduce their own contribution to air pollution.
The Lantern Festival on Feb 14 is a case in point. Despite the heavy smog, many residents still set off fireworks.
Many seem to believe that pollution control has nothing to do with them and is something that only the government can deal with. What they are concerned about is protection of their immediate interests. So they wear masks and use air purifiers, but never consider driving their car less or not setting off fireworks during festivals or finding ways of leading a lower-carbon lifestyle.
Only when every individual is committed to contributing as much as he or she can to air pollution control will it be possible for the country to see the hope of keeping its sky always blue and clear.
(China Daily 02/24/2014 page10)