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One year on, China's "war on pollution" still to be won

Wednesday, March 04, 2015 - 01:35

One year after Premier Li Keqiang ''declared war'' on pollution, the environment is expected to be a top issue when China's top leaders gather for a key meeting later in the week. Natalie Thomas reports.

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Until his daughter was born, Liu Ruiqiang used to tolerate the smog that regularly descends on Beijing. Now family life is governed by the numbers generated by his personal pollution detector. Today, it's showing pollutant levels five times the maximum recommended by the WHO. And that's indoors. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) MEDICAL PRODUCTS SALESMAN, LIU RUIQIANG, SAYING: "I feel helpless, because this is what the environment is like, every day we're being affected by this pollution that surrounds us. If we don't think of a way to balance it out or find some basic ways to help us recover, eventually our health will be destroyed." Like many millions of Chinese, Liu and his family are paying the price for decades of red-hot economic growth. In the face of increasing public anger at the state of China's battered environment last year the government "declared war" on pollution at its key National People's Congress meeting. A law subsequently brought in subjects polluters to unlimited fines for the first time. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) CHINESE PEOPLE'S POLITICAL CONSULTATIVE COMMITTEE SPOKESMAN, LU XINHUA, SPEAKING: "Dealing with air pollution more quickly doesn't just benefit the more than 100 million people living in the Hebei, Beijing and Tianjin area. I think the influence of the capital and the surrounding areas will speed up tackling pollution across the entire country" With this year's National People's Congress about to start, many are hoping the government's words will translate into cleaner skies.

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One year on, China's "war on pollution" still to be won

Wednesday, March 04, 2015 - 01:35