Since the implementation of statistical, monitoring and testing plans and methods – in particular, the Testing Method for Main Pollutant Emissions in the 11th Five-year plan Period – energy conservation and emissions reduction have become present-day household terms in China. The issue has attracted much attention from the media, as well as from the general public, for the simple reason that the Responsibility-assuming system and One-vote veto system will be introduced in testing the managerial capabilities and achievements of government officials at all levels. Pollution control and pollutant emissions reduction will be the inescapable yardstick.
In fact, environmental protection was listed as a state policy two decades ago, but encountered many failures at the time. Why the policy is difficult to carry out can be chiefly explained by the policy's lack of binding force. Compared with other priorities, like capital attraction and GDP growth, environmental protection appears to be a rule easily bent. Only when it becomes a binding measure, and tied to the official posts of persons in charge, can environment protection gain any ground.
One more thing which has gained public attention and interest is that the new Testing Method places more importance on joint efforts and keeping vigilant against local protectionism. The Method states that testing should not be carried out by the environmental protection sector alone; but should involve other sectors such as the development and reform department, statistical department and monitoring department. According to the Method, local governments are not allowed to release annual data about the local emissions volume of main pollutants without authorization.
The presence of the Testing Method can be a mixed blessing. What worries people most is how to set the testing criterion, which cannot be generalized and act as a single model for various regions with different local conditions. For instance, in the northern and southern areas of the Huaihe River, where water quality and volume vary, water pollution cannot be tested against the same standard.
Whether the Method works effectively in practice depends on the attainability of set objectives; otherwise, false results may run rampant.
To the public's delight, a notice has been ratified by the State Council and released to relevant departments, which reads: Mobilize the public and all positive factors; ensure monitoring through public opinion; and create a sound social atmosphere for energy conservation and pollutant emissions reduction. Hopefully, the environment will become clean and clear with the implementation of the Testing Method.
By People's Daily Online