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Strict enforcement needed to ensure smog measures effective

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-12-09 07:53

AT 6 PM ON MONDAY, after the city had been buried in heavy smog for the day, Beijing issued its first red alert for air pollution, with the relevant measures in effect from Tuesday to Thursday. A Beijing Youth Daily editorial calls on the authorities to strictly enforce these measures:

It is a good and welcome move that the Beijing authorities issued the alert, because they are admitting that the threat is serious, potentially fatal for some, and it is urgent to take alleviating action.

During the red alert, both the authorities and the ordinary residents need to take special measures. For example, gasoline automobiles are only allowed on the roads on alternate days depending on whether their license plates have odd or even numbers, 30 percent of all government-owned cars are to be taken off the roads, and heavy trucks carrying construction waste, concrete, and sandstone are also forbidden to use the roads.

Whether these measures can be strictly implemented will decide whether the smog will last as long as expected. According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, vehicle emissions are a major source of the pollutants that cause the smog, so it is necessary to implement these measures.

More importantly, government departments must set an example for residents to follow by suspending the vehicles registered under their names.

To better implement these measures, it is urgent to make clear who will supervise the process. When Beijing issued an orange alert on Saturday, the municipal government did a good job in strictly carrying out the task of supervising the imposed restrictions, which require industrial plants to reduce or shut down production, construction sites to stop the transportation of materials and waste and ban heavy-duty trucks from the roads. It needs to do a good job again.

Of course, ordinary residents have a role to play, too. Besides not driving on the days they are not allowed to, residents can do much more to protect themselves. Primary schools and other education institutions should also suspend classes.

Beijing has "rich" experience in enduring days of smog; and both its residents and authorities know the importance of joint efforts to fight air pollution.

The regulations have been improved several times to meet the requirements, but a good regulation is nothing without strict implementation and people adhering to it.

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