Bureaucracy stands in China’s smoggy path to clean air
While Americans endlessly debate whether environmental laws are too burdensome or too lax, the debate in China is not whether they should be stricter but how to overcome internal bureaucratic battles to make it happen.
Consider that the air pollution in Beijing is so thick that it’s difficult to see the portrait of Mao Zedong (whom many Americans know as Mao Tse-tung or Chairman Mao) while entering the Forbidden City. Earlier this month, authorities discovered 13,000 dead pigs – in the river from which Shanghai draws its drinking water.
Part of the problem, the New York Times reports, is that the same government that wants to curb pollution also operates the big oil and power companies. One result: The U.S. drive for cleaner fuel and China’s foot-dragging have resulted in a sulfur content in China’s diesel fuel that is 23 times the level in the U.S.
China’s government has ordered tougher standards to begin in 2014 – though the nation’s oil companies ignored the previous set of standards.