Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Corruption and the Environment II

Hot on the heels of yesterday's post on the link between pollution and local officials (corruption) in China comes and ENN article about the launch of the "Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs" in China.

BEIJING — China needs to break ties between polluting industries and local officials if it is to succeed in cleaning up its badly tainted water supplies, the founder of a new environmental group said Tuesday.

The government also has to spend more on environmental enforcement and improve public accountability, said Ma Jun, director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs.

A report last month by China's parliament accused local officials of failing to enforce standards for fear of hurting industry. It said emissions of sulfur dioxide -- the chemical that causes acid rain -- are rising at a time when the government is promising to cut pollution.

"If we can't even enforce our environmental standards on the industrial polluters, how can we enforce them on our sewage plants who have close ties to authorities?" Ma said at a talk for foreign correspondents.

"There's a need to break interest links because ... those who benefit are included in the government structure. They can make decisions, but those who are affected -- the communities, the public -- are not effectively involved in this."

This article provides additional motivation for some research that is currently on going with a PhD student of ours at Birmingham.

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