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Tackling pollution a difficult test governments must pass

China Daily, October 21, 2016 Adjust font size:

The smog that has shrouded Beijing in recent days shows the urgency of eliminating old automobiles and controlling the number of trucks on the capital's roads, Beijing Times said on Wednesday:

The Ministry of Environmental Protection conducted a special investigation into the causes of the current air pollution, and found that heavy diesel trucks and old automobiles were the main sources of the air-borne pollutants.

According to the ministry, about 300,000 automobiles from outside Beijing come into the city every day, and that among them more than one-third are heavy vehicles. The ministry's sample tests revealed that more than half of these heavy trucks do not meet the national emissions standards and the pollutants emitted by each heavy truck are equivalent to more than 200 cars on average.

Beijing and neighboring Tianjin municipality and Hebei province need to accelerate the scrapping of these trucks, ensure their taxis and buses meet the emissions standards, and strengthen police enforcement to prevent the polluting vehicles from entering Beijing.

On days when there is severe air pollution, the government must ensure emergency measures and rules are strictly adhered to by enterprises and individuals. There should be a harsh accountability system to urge the officials in charge of pollution treatment to fulfill their responsibilities.

As the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei has become a national development strategy, the three local governments should coordinate their anti-pollution efforts to reduce the air, water and soil pollution in the region. Compared with achieving economic growth, cleaning up the environment is a more difficult test for governments, but it is one they urgently need to pass.