The Ministry of Environmental Protection recently released a summary of its “State of the Environment” report, and if you haven’t read it yet, it’s even more exciting than the last Twilight book. To read the original MEP report in Chinese, it’s over here.
China Environmental Law blog gave the report a B-, so we thought we’d take a look at it ourselves.
While we’re sure that this report won’t convince those of you who are still on the fence about how much progress has been made towards fixing the plethora of environmental issues in China, it sure has plenty of nice things to say about these efforts.
The one part we found most interesting was pollution reduction: COD and SO2 emissions fell by 4.42% and 5.95% respectively from 2007, and the total pollution reduction work met the timetable required for the current five-year-plan. At this rate, by 2010 we might get two weeks worth of blue-sky days a year instead of just one.
The report also lists a few of the problems still facing the country, most of which are pretty big issues. Surface water pollution hasn’t gone away, and even though fewer pollutants are being emitted, there is still plenty of it lingering in the air.
We were a little alarmed when the report said that the radiation environmental quality was “good at large” and we also were a little put off that only two sentences were devoted to environmental issues in rural areas.
The Beijing Olympic Games can certainly be thanked for some of the gains on the condition of China’s environment in 2008. The UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) report on the Beijing Games has plenty of positive things to say about China’s environmental gains (cleaner air, better transportation infrastructure, etc.). Hopefully they’ll have an equally positive tone after next year’s Expo here in Shanghai.
So in the end, we guess we’d rate the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s report a B- as well: good research, some interesting conclusions, but a lot of fluff we’ve heard before.
As for China’s efforts at environmental protection though, our grade might be much lower. The Olympics are over and Beijing’s air pollution is now as bad as ever. Meanwhile, the country boasts some of the most toxic e-waste pits in the world. While initiatives to lessen environmental pollution are allegedly starting, we really can’t up China’s score until it gets some results. After all, it’s not like teachers give you a higher grade now that you’ve started tutoring, right?