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Documentary on smog by individual insightful

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-03-02 07:35

Documentary on smog by individual insightful

Chai Jing, former presenter and journalist with China Central Television, presents a self-funded documentary about smog in Beijing, Feb 28, 2015. [Photo/CFP]

Instead of telling us something new about smog, a result of serious air pollution caused by pollutants from both the use of fossil fuels and motor vehicle exhausts, a documentary self-produced by former TV anchorwoman Chai Jing gives some insight into how to solve the problem.

Few Chinese who have long been bothered by the country's heavy smog disagree that air pollution is so serious that something urgently needs to be done to address it. And both the central and local governments have vowed to make all the efforts they can to reduce air pollution.

Yet, both individuals and the governments at all levels attach much more importance to rhetoric about how important it is to tackle air pollution than the emphasis they place on specific actions to address it.

It is natural for government leaders to pay lip service to the importance of eliminating air pollution given the investment needed to tackle air pollution will compromise local finance and the closing of the polluting factories will likely cause a rise in unemployment.

And for individuals, no matter how much many hate smog, only a small number of them have developed the awareness to lead their lives in an environmentally friendly manner as much as possible. The majority of people fail to do their bit to help change the air quality for the better by doing what they can in their daily lives and acting as whistleblowers on air pollution.

It is no secret that China's consumption of coal is more than the total amount consumed by the rest of the world. It is also no secret that China's rapid economic growth in the past three decades has been at the cost of the environment.

Yet neither the central or local governments have made a documentary like Chai's to tell people how serious the pollution in this country is.

This documentary about how grave the situation is, how it poses a threat to people's health and why China needs to change its development mode in a fundamental way was made by Chai on her own and with her own money, which puts to shame the environmental authorities of both the central and local governments.

We need more documentaries like this on such issues as food safety, soil contamination, the heavy metal pollution of arable land in some provinces and water pollution.

The government needs to be pushed for more action and people need to have their awareness raised about what they can do to fight against pollution.

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