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Chinese government urged to disclose pollution figures

Tuesday, Mar 11, 2014
China Daily/Asia News Network
By Cao Yin

CHINA - Political advisors at the annual two sessions meetings have urged the Chinese government to disclose pollution discharge figures to the public as required by law.

Wan Jie, a member of the National Committee of Chinese People's Consultative Conference, called on environmental authorities on Sunday to release pollution figures for major plants and factories across the country in a more transparent way.

The environmental administrations should put such disclosures into their evaluation systems in order to boost supervision and ensure implementation, Wan said.

Meanwhile, all environmental authorities should design a way to disclose the discharges in timely and comprehensive ways, according to Wan, who is also head of an environmental organisation.

Residents should be able to search for discharge levels on such platforms and find previous figures as well via the same database, he said.

The disclosures, which are a requirement for industrial sites in the country, has not been enforced well, the political advisor said, adding that transparency about discharge levels is a key for winning public trust.

The State Council in July issued a rule on disclosing governmental information, which also pushed environmental departments to release discharge data for factories that release heavy amounts of pollution.

On Sept 14, the Ministry of Environment published a notice ordering plants and factories to disclose discharge information and establish open channels of communication with local residents.

Yang Xingping, a delegate of National People's Congress from Sichuan province, echoed Wan and suggested crafting an environmental education law.

It is necessary to educate the public to enhance environmental awareness in legal ways, Yang said, calling for the measure to be added to compulsory education.

"The environmental issues will be long-term problems. It relates to factories, but also to everyone in the society," he said.

"It also covers complicated scientific knowledge that most residents are not familiar with."

In this way, environmental education is a necessity, teaching people know how to protect the environment when they are young, he added.

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