China's Environment Getting Worse... Before It Gets Better?
Bad news from China last week. According to the State Environmental Protection Administration's (SEPA) first quarter report, pollution is worsening in many parts of the country. After checking out this post, you probably won't be surprised to hear that the situation in rivers is deteriorating. Drinking water quality is also declining in major Chinese cities, with just under 70 percent rated as "qualified" for consumption. Air quality was on the upswing in some locales - partially due to fickle spring breezes - but Pan Yue, SEPA's deputy director and one of our favorite government officials, warned that "[t]he improved air quality in some cities is absolutely no reason for complacency." At least the government isn't trying to put a good face on this worsening situation. In addition to Pan Yue's admonishments, SEPA vice minister Wang Xiaoqing seized the opportunity of international Biodiversity Day to call for biodiversity to be "regarded as a key performance indicator." That's looking a lot more likely than his other desire. "We should firmly forbid those projects which damage the environment or cause pollution in the construction process," he said. This treehugger won't hold her breath for that one, though she might try as spring's cleaning breezes desert Beijing till next year. ::Reuters and ::Xinhua News Agency