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March 10, 2014

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Home » Metro » Environment

Cooperation key to fighting pollution

AUTHORITIES in the Yangtze River Delta region and the central government must cooperate closely if efforts to improve air quality in the region are to be effective, Zhang Quan, director of the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau, said during the ongoing annual session of the National People’s Congress in Beijing.

“To curb air pollution, the government must trace the source, control the process and severely punish those responsible,” he said.

Though there are many challenges ahead, Zhang said he remains optimistic.

“Conditions must surely improve with increased government funding and better communication between cities,” he said.

The Shanghai government will use funds from Beijing and its own budget to establish more monitoring stations, and to finance research and development to curb pollution, he said.

He said he is very keen to find out how much money the central government will allocate for environmental protection in the Yangtze River Delta region this year.

Cheng Zhihua, a senior official at the Ministry of Finance, said: “The central government will double its funding for projects designed to tackle pollution to 1 billion yuan (US$163.2 million) this year, but that has to be shared between the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in the north, the Pearl River Delta region in the south and the Yangtze River Delta region in the east.”

No quick fix

Zhang said it is impossible for Shanghai to fight air pollution alone.

“It will take a long time, maybe 10 years, to resolve the city’s air pollution problems,” he said.

Zhang, who became a national legislator in 2013, put forward the idea of a cooperation mechanism for cities in the Yangtze River Delta region late last year.

This year, he has continued to push for stiff punishments for those who violate the air pollution law.

“As we have established the law and the cooperation system, we should now make sure  we implement them,” he said.


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