Chinese Dragon Their Heels on Cleanup
In the wake of devastating Yangtze River floods last year, China’s leaders seem to be recognizing that many of their efforts to boost economic growth have been unsustainable and they are gradually working to tackle environmental problems, writes Elizabeth Economy in an op-ed in the South China Morning Post. The leaders have their work cut out for them. Last year, illegal logging, sprawling development, and air pollution continued to plague the nation. Tens of thousands of Chinese are believed to die prematurely each year because of pollution-related illnesses, and some 60 million people have difficulty regularly accessing clean water. This week, the government announced a new logging ban on 1.4 million hectares in the northeast; logging has been banned or restricted on tens of millions of hectares throughout the nation in an attempt to reduce erosion, flooding, and other ecological damage. Also this week, the government said it is drafting stricter rules for pesticide use.