However, although China has worked diligently for more than three decades to address its air pollution issue, the current pollution levels are still severe across the country. This has raised the questions that how successful the air quality policies have been in terms of policy design, enforcement and effectiveness. This chapter reviews the development of the air pollution control policies in China’s nearly 70 years’ history, focusing on its basic structure and distinct features, addressing some political and institutional factors that have resulted in the ineffectiveness of policy implementation. A comparison of control policies between China and the USA is conducted to highlight their similarities and differences, followed by a few conclusion remarks for future air pollution designs and implementations in China. The purpose of this chapter is to inform decision makers, particularly in the developing world, with some insights of improving policy designs and environmental governance in the control of air pollution. 2. China’s air pollution control policy development and effectiveness 2.1. Environmental policies before China’s 1979 economic reform a brief history 2 For many years before China’s reform of the economic system in 1979, pollution was a so-called nonissue in China . For example, only a few regulatory standards (largely oriented to occupational health) based on Soviet practice were promulgated in 1956 and revised in 1962 but were almost ineffective . For almost two decades (1950s and 1960s), China’s economic sector paid very little attention to pollution control because it was nei - ther included in enterprise norms and received state investment funds, nor did it receive public concerns [5 ]. 1 The World Health Organization (WHO) recommended annual PM2.5 level is 10 μg/m 3 . 2 Historical issues in this section were heavily informed by . E M S D
China’s lack of pollution control, both ideologically and practically, both by governmental actions and by general public demand, was because of several reasons: first, during that period China placed the policy priority exclusively on economic development, particularly the development of heavy industries, so as to fulfill rapid industrialization in this country; second, China’s political isolation from the western world made this nation slow in under - standing and participating in the world’s increasing concerns about pollution in 1960s, which was even aggravated by the anti-intellectual ferment of the Cultural Revolution from 1966 through 1976 ; third, because of the poor income levels and living conditions in general, Chinese people were the most concerned with basic life demands such as food and clothes, and therefore little heed had been taken of environmental issues. However, the development of heavy industries in this period and the ubiquitous use of “dirt” technologies as well as abuse of natural resources, along with the expansion of population had gradually caused severe threats to China’s environment as well as natural resources.
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- Summer '20
- Dr joseph