China’s new premier, Li Keqiang, has vowed aggressive government action to curb the rampant pollution that has provoked growing public outrage, saying the country would phase out “backward production facilities” that have contributed to dangerous health conditions in numerous regions.
Speaking at his first press conference, Li said the government would set deadlines to address the public health controversy, exemplified by choking air pollution over Beijing that has kept air quality at dangerous levels since the beginning of the year.
Chronic air pollution problems in major metropolitan areas, coupled with a recent episode in which more than 12,000 rotting pig carcasses were discovered in a river that provides Shanghai’s drinking water, have triggered growing public protest.
While Li offered few specific solutions, he promised “vigorous” efforts to tackle pollution. “We need to face the situation and punish offenders with no mercy and enforce the law with an iron fist,” he said. “We shouldn’t pursue economic growth at the expense of the environment.”
Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.