Is Narmada water being made to flow in Sabarmati not supplied to city of Ahmedabad? This has furthered the idea of river...
I have been selling glass for commercial buildings talking about light, thermal/solar heat gain etc.etc..but I...
Dear Saxena ji,
Thank you for inquiry.
West facing windows can be a big source of heat, first measure which you...
China has been the seat of philosophies like Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, which have often been touted as espousing the belief that humans should coexist in harmony with nature. This creates an impression that Chinese culture, rooted in these philosophies, would lead to a predisposition towards environmentally friendly policies. This assumption may not hold water. Mark Elvin, professor of Chinese history at the Australian National University, who specialises in hydraulics and water control in China, argues that the ancient philosophical canon describes the natural forces not as a symptom of any ancient harmony but, rather, of a rational reaction to an incipient but already visible ecological crisis. "The more I learn, the more I see traditional culture is so unfriendly to nature," notes Liang Congjie of the Chinese ngo Friends of Nature. The common perception seems to be that the heavens have provided the natural resources and these are here for the taking. Not much seems to have changed in the modern day and age.
Environmental problems were visible as early as the middle of the 20th century. Deforestation and mismanagement of the timber sector, water resource challenges, soil erosion, and urban and industrial pollution already challenged the new nation. But these problems weren't attended. Mao Zedong's plans for achieving rapid industrial growth during the Great Leap Forward further undermined environmental concerns. What followed was the exploitation of natural resources without a care for the consequences.
A Chinese delegation attended the un Conference on the Human Environment in 1972. The following year saw the Chinese government holding the first National Conference on Environmental Protection. In 1974, the State Council's Commission on Environmental Protection was established. Yet the government's priority remained economic growth. Even when the Environmental Protection Law was promulgated in 1979, no clear link was made between official recognition of the problems and government policies.
Some changes happened in the late 1980s -- 1989 saw 12 special laws regarding protection of the environment and natural resources, 22 administrative decrees from the State Council, 26 regulations from the National Environmental Protection Administration (NEPA), about 1,000 local laws as well as 263 national standards issued by the government. This led to a more in-depth, structured legal system for environmental protection. In 1998, nepa was elevated to a ministerial level, and the Commission on Environmental Protection was merged with it to create the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), the top environmental protection authority at present.
Notwithstanding the government's efforts, China is far from being 'green', particularly for a country in the throes of development. While the Chinese public is increasingly aware of environmental concerns, it continues to view environmental protection as the government's job. Many policies that appear promising on paper are never properly implemented. This has something to do with the decentralised nature of economic reforms. This has limited the central government's ability to coordinate and communicate with local governments, which control not only the authority necessary to reform local industries but also the power to control financial resources.
The result has been increased bargaining power for local governments, which are too close to the industries that they are supposed to regulate. Economic welfare of the community is more important for them than environmental wellbeing. In some cases, environmental protection bureau (EPB) officials are expressly told to stay out of the way. There have been
cases of assault, with the involvement of the local authorities, on regulators, and there are more such incidents than
are reported. SEPA has stated that it cannot expect effective management from its officials if it cannot protect them
from such attacks. The epbs are funded entirely by
local governments. Enforcement is particularly difficult for the central government. It doesn't have environmental authorities outside the capital Beijing.
With the elevation of sepa to a ministerial level, its influence has increased. Yet its staff has been reduced from about 400 to about 200 -- compare that to the 6,000 employees at the headquarters of the us Environmental Protection Authority. This has happened at a time when the sepa has taken over the role of the State Council Commissions as well as the responsibilities left by the abolished ministries, and do this with fewer staff.