It’s a long-term fight to finally get a clear blue sky. According to a joint report by Tsinghua University and the Clean Air Alliance China, the country is unlikely to meet its 2017 air quality improvement target. For more, Jin Yingqiao joins us in the studio.
Q1, Yingqiao, what does the report say? What are the barriers in meeting the target?
A1 The so called "Air Pollution Control Plan" released in 2013 aims to improve air quality nationwide by 2017; especially in the Beijing, Tianjin municipalities and Hebei province. The latest report sounds a warning; that the target deadline may be missed. But first, let’s just understand what makes up smog. According to the report, some of the major pollutants that comprise smog...include sulphur dioxide, oxynitride, ammonia, and the so called: volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Now the report says, the current measures are doing a good job in cutting down sulphur dioxide, but tangible results are hard to find when it comes to reducing the other pollutants. The 2017 goal is a 25 percent air quality improvement in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei. The report says, that target will BE MISSED, unless more immediate measures are implemented.
Q2 So, what has been the reaction amongst local officials? Are they going to strengthen their efforts to combat smog?
A2, Well, surprisingly, there’s been a dramatic change in the attitude of local officials. Often when such regulations are handed down from the top, they are difficult to implement. But a professor who led the air quality report says officials in Hebei province, neighboring Beijing, are eager to take action. They even want researchers to help come up with new solutions to meet the target. Now a campaign is going on in the province. As one official puts it: "if you can’t meet the GDP growth target you will at most be bashed, but if you fail to control the pollution, then heads will roll.
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