People, Environment
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China to Set Up Pollution Police

China to Set Up Pollution PoliceChina to Set Up Pollution Police

In response to the worsening air quality in the highly populous city, the Chinese capital of Beijing will reportedly be launching an “environmental police force” to track down persistent polluters.

What this means in practice is that those who illegally burn garbage or wastes, hold illegal open-air barbecues and/or don’t keep dusty roads under control, among other things, will now have to deal with a special police force doing nothing but tracking them down, Clear Technica reported.

The news originates with Beijing’s acting mayor, Cai Qi, as quoted by the official Xinhua news agency.

Cai stated that these acts of non-compliance with regulations are actually the result of lax supervision and weak law enforcement.”

The mayor told the press that the police force would enforce regulations on outdoor barbecues, garbage incineration and the burning of biomass for fuel. He said he’s confident that increasing supervision to enforce these regulations will help reduce the country’s pollution.

Nearly three years into a “war on pollution”, large swathes of northern China were engulfed in smog over the New Year, with dangerous air quality readings in major cities like Beijing, Tianjin and Xian forcing many people to stay indoors, Reuters reported.

The smog, which blanketed cities and disrupted flights, port operations and schools, was caused by increased coal use for winter heating and unfavorable weather conditions.

The central government has promised to make greater use of police and law courts to prosecute companies and local officials responsible for exceeding emissions limits.

But while China’s environmental legislation has been beefed up in recent years, authorities have long struggled to build up the staff required to enforce such laws.

“China’s continuing reliance on fossil fuels, especially in the north, made the fight against pollution difficult,” China’s environment minister, Chen Jining, said on Friday.

Interestingly, the minister commented that while the issue was a major one, China would be able to solve its pollution problems faster than western countries, including Germany.

 “They needed 20–40 years to solve it. I believe we will do it faster than they did. We shouldn’t lose confidence because of a few days of heavy pollution,” he said.

 

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