“The Chinese government is determined to tackle smog and environmental pollution as a whole,” Mr. Li said. “But the progress we have made still falls far short of the expectation of the people. Last year, I said the Chinese government would declare war against environmental pollution. We’re determined to carry forward our efforts until we achieve our goal.” That is what Premier Li Keqiang of China said on Sunday after the closing session of the annual National People’s Congress.
During his speech the sky over Beijing was pale blue on Sunday, though a brownish haze smudged the horizon, and the capital’s air was rated “unhealthy” by a United States Embassy air monitor. And even with clearer skies during some of the legislative session, pollution has loomed as an issue.
Last year the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences claimed in a report that Beijing’s pollution made the city almost “uninhabitable for human beings“.
The Chinese government has repeatedly promised to address the problem, but enforcement remains patchy. Last October, Beijing introduced a system of emergency measures if pollution levels remained hazardous for three days in a row, including closing schools, shutting some factories, and restricting the use of government cars.
The Chinese capital has for many years suffered from air pollution. So, it seems like a civil war in which citizens are constantly attacked by pollutants. Primary sources of pollutants include exhaust emission from Beijing’s more than five million motor vehicles, coal burning in neighbouring regions, dust storms from the north and local construction dust.
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Image credit: HAP/Quirky China News/REX