Guangdong to hold mayors responsible for river pollution
Guangdong province this year will adopt an official pollution-evaluation system in an effort to clean up the rivers and prevent their water quality from deteriorating further, a senior official with the provincial environment watchdog said.
Chen Guangrong, deputy director of Guangdong’s environmental protection authority, said the new system will require mayors of cities that have a heavily polluted river to assume the major responsibility for addressing the pollution problems, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported on March 20.
Mayors who are unable to address river pollution for three consecutive years will not get any promotion for two years, Chen said.
The provincial government will release more detailed information about how the system will reward or punish local government heads and introduce an independent evaluation mechanism later this year, he added.
The measure came as heads of environmental protection bureaus in a few cities across the country have been “invited” to swim in heavily polluted water, a gesture showing the public’s discontent with heavy polluted rivers.
According to media reports earlier this year, a businessman from Rui’an of Wenzhou, a city in Zhejiang province, offered 200,000 yuan ($32,200) on Feb 16 to the director of a local environmental protection bureau if he swam in a heavily polluted river for 20 minutes.
Chen said that netizens have sent the invitation to the wrong people.
“It is the mayors who should be invited to swim in those rivers,” he said.
According to laws on environmental protection and water pollution in China, local governments are responsible for local environment.
The roles of environmental protection bureaus include drafting goals and conducting supervision.
“It is far from enough to rely on the environmental protection department only to clean up a polluted river. If a local government does not attach importance to this, the issue will definitely not be addressed,” he said.