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Govt environmental transparency in doubt

By WANG HONGYI  (China Daily)

08:54, May 09, 2013

Survey reveals dissatisfaction with officials' performance in the sector

More than 60 percent of respondents to a recent survey said they are unsatisfied with, or unclear of, transparent government information regarding environmental protection.

The survey, conducted by the Public Opinion Research Center under Shanghai Jiao Tong University, aims to find out residents' attitudes toward the country's environmental protection and how they evaluate government performance in this sector.

The survey, released on Wednesday, polled 3,400 residents from 34 cities across the country in March and April.

Only 37.4 percent of the respondents said they believe governments are doing a good job in revealing information about environmental protection, while the others said they are not satisfied with government performance or they have no idea of it, according to the survey.

"Given the result, it's highly necessary and important for government to adjust its method of working with the public," said Zhong Yang, director of the research center. In addition, the public has shown a very strong resistance toward neighboring facilities that have environmental risks, the survey shows.

Over half of the respondents said they strongly oppose projects with possible harmful effects on the environment. And 78 percent said they will participate in protests if pollution facilities are to be built near their residences.

In a recent case, a planned paraxylene project caused protests among local residents in Kunming, capital of Southwest China's Yunnan province.

One of Xinhua's micro blogs quoted an anonymous official on Tuesday saying that a planned refinery project in Anning, a satellite county-level city of Kunming, has been approved by the government, while no decision has been reached on the paraxylene project, which is related to the refinery project.

The survey shows that about 80 percent of the respondents believed that environmental protection should be given priority over economic development.

Some 67 percent said they would like to pay more tax or fees to improve their neighboring water environment, the survey shows.

The survey also shows that residents are willing to be more involved in environmental protection. More than 90 percent of the respondents would like to classify garbage, and 87 percent like to take recycled shopping bags. About 64 percent would like to donate to environmental protection organizations and 77 percent would like to participate in social work in this field.

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