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Fierce debate over hazy inclusion

China's regulation draft includes smog as meteorological disaster

BEIJING: The third draft of regulations for preventing and controlling meteorological disasters was recently published.

It aroused fierce public discussions as smog was listed as a meteorological disaster.

Maybe the regulations are meant to mobilise more resources to fight smog, but it seemed that it makes it easier for officials to shirk their responsibility for good air quality, said daily paper Hua Shang Bao.

Mr Li Xiaojuan, the spokesman for the legislative affairs committee of Beijing people's congress, the local legislature, said they included smog as a meteorological disaster because they hoped to strengthen the awareness of the need for the whole of society to tackle smog.

The move would not change the municipal government's leading role in fighting smog, Mr Li said.

These words sound reasonable, but they are still flawed as smog is not a natural disaster.

According to the current meteorological law, meteorological disasters such as typhoons, storms, sandstorms, high temperature, drought, lightning and hail are natural disasters - they cannot be prevented under the current conditions. China can only protect itself and reduce any damage when they happen.

INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION

Smog is different from a natural disaster because it is a product of industrial pollution - it can be prevented if China curbs the pollution.

Smoggy weather means the pollution is rather heavy and China has much to do.

Thus, it is scientifically wrong to put smog in the list of meteorological disasters.

More importantly, by redefining smog as a "meteorological disaster", officials can easily shirk off their responsibility.

If the draft passes, that will leave a loophole in the law to help illegal polluters and environmental quality supervisors who fail in their duty to escape their deserved punishment. 
- CHINA DAILY/ANN

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