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Where there is a will, there is a way.

 
 
 

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年过半百,经历坎坷.少年遇"文革",下乡八载,虽历经磨难,唯斗志不减,农耕间隙自学不辍,终守得云开日出,考进大学.大学毕业后先后经历了中学执教,国企管理,外企高管,最后回归重执教鞭.目前在家精心培养有志掌握英语的中小学生. 我最大的愿望就是看到孩子学有所成,桃李天下.

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我新发表的文章《治理污水,刻不容缓》  

2014-03-10 09:23:23|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Take the plunge

 

Wu Guangqiang

 

ON Feb. 17, over 50 shoe factory owners in Rui’an District of Wenzhou, a private-economy-flourishing city in Zhejiang Province, braved the cold and plunged into a local river for a swim. It was no regular swim, but a significant celebration for a fulfilled promise.

 

Last February, Jin Zengmin, owner of a large eyeglass making and selling company in Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang, returned to his hometown of Xianjiang in Rui’an for Lunar New Year holiday only to find that all 43 rivers there were badly polluted. Xianjiang has the largest number of rubber shoe factories in China. Since the spring-up of these money-spinning factories, wastewater and garbage have been dumped untreated into the rivers, thus turning them into filthy, stinking, mosquito-breeding gutters.

 

A depressed Jin posted a message to his Weibo account in which he offered a 200,000 yuan (US$32,940) dare to the chief of the local environmental protection agency to swim in one of the rivers. The post immediately drew nationwide attention as it reflected high public concern for the deteriorating environment. After all, choking air and stinky water brings suffering rather than happiness no matter how much money we earn.

 

Indeed, having officials swim in polluted rivers is the best way to throw down the gauntlet to those responsible, and, interestingly, the initial idea came from a government official, not from the public. In 2012, amid public outcry demanding effective measures against river pollution, then Party chief of Wenzhou, Chen Derong, suggested that the criterion for the effect of river pollution treatment should be whether the environmental protection agency chief and public utility service director dare swim in the rivers rather than any statistic.

 

Local officials kept their words this time. A large sum of money was spent and a host of things done: solid waste from factories must be dumped at designated sites, compressed and moved away; rivers were dredged for trash and widened.

 

Finding cleaning the rivers also to be their own responsibility, local entrepreneurs also pitched in, donating money and labor.

 

The joint efforts have paid off. Now, all the contaminated rivers have been cleared of sewage and ugly odors, and swimming in them is possible.

 

We will keep swimming in the rivers,” said one factory owner, “to show our determination to keep them clean and clear forever.”

 

The episode signifies a major change in China’s outlook on development patterns at both central official and grass-roots levels. The communiqué of the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee vowed to establish a sound system to protect the country’s ecological environment. Higher GDP goals are no longer the top priority for central and local governments; instead, more emphasis will be placed on environmental protection and improvement. At their recently closed annual sessions of the local People’s Congress, 22 provinces and municipalities directly under the Central Government lowered their economic growth targets for 2014 to give more leeway for environmental amelioration.

 

In China, earnest willingness and stern implementation on the part of the government are key to the success of any plan. Few tasks will fail as long as the government makes full use of its powerful execution and massive economic and human resources.

 

In water-rich Zhejiang, a province-wide campaign called “wu shui gong zhi” (five tasks concerning water) is in full swing. The drive aims to achieve basic success in five aspects: treatment of polluted rivers, flood control, drainage of flooded areas, guaranteed provision of clean water and water conservation.

 

Zhejiang Provincial Government has made a three-step plan to be implemented in three years, five years and seven years, respectively, to transform the province into an environment-friendly land where economic growth is sustainable and its living conditions agreeable to humans.

 

If Zhejiang can do it, so can other places.

 

Considering that 64 percent of the underground water in 118 monitored cities in China is heavily polluted, 33 percent is lightly polluted, that two-thirds of surface water is suffering from contamination of various degrees and that only 1 percent of China’s 500 cities meet the air quality standard made by WHO, we can’t afford any delay in action.

 

The good news is that the country is taking action. According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, China plans to spend 2 trillion yuan in the coming years to tackle the pollution of its scarce water resources.

 

Take the plunge, and we can make a difference.

 

(The author is an English tutor and a freelance writer.)

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