China Pollution

China environment official wants action by citizens

April 26, 2007

Beijing: A top Chinese environmental official said on Wednesday that greater citizen involvement was needed to rein in the country’s powerful polluters as he announced new transparency rules.

Three decades of breakneck industrial growth have fouled China’s air, water and soil, and Premier Wen Jiabao made reducing pollution a centrepiece of government policy in 2007. But vice minister of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), Pan Yue, said a broader political shift was needed to give citizens a bigger say in reining in big polluters, who are often protected by growth-hungry officials.

“Reducing pollution emissions is not purely a specialised problem,” he said in a statement on SEPA’s Web site (www.sepa.gov.cn). “It’s a problem of adjusting the pattern of interests formed through the traditional pattern of growth.”

Pan, who has nurtured an image as a political reformer using environmental issues to push change, said the transparency rules would encourage citizens to keep a close watch on polluters. …

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