HANGZHOU, Jan. 17 -- A no-nonsense approach is being adopted at legislative sessions across China as local officials are told to control pollution or lose their jobs.
Shi Songqin, a village official in east China's Zhejiang Province, got in a sweat, when his provincial party chief warned him that his political career would be at stake if he could not tackle his village's sewage issues.
The annual session of the Zhejiang People's Congress, the provincial legislature, opened in Hangzhou on Thursday and continued on Friday.
As a delegate to the provincial People's Congress, Shi spoke at the meeting that his village, Jianchuan, with a population of 5,000, did not have enough money to build sewage treatment facilities.
The village is located in the riverhead of Qiantang, a major river running through the province.
Xia Baolong, secretary of the provincial committee of the Communist Party of China, immediately allocated 1 million yuan (165,000 U.S. dollars) for Shi to build sewage treatment works.
"Sewage must be treated before it is discharged. If the work is done well, you will be rewarded, otherwise, you will be replaced," Xia told the meeting. Two entrepreneur delegates donated another 18 million yuan to the cause.
Zhejiang, known for its vigorous private sector, is one of China's better-off areas, but growth has been achieved at a heavy cost to the environment.
The coastal province that used to boast an abundant river system now has per capita water resources below the national average.
As China tones down its economic growth demands and focuses on quality growth, local magistrates are getting tough on pollution.
Li Qiang, governor of Zhejiang, said in the work report delivered to the meeting on Thursday that treating water pollution would be the number one issue for the government this year.