High levels of smog persist throughout China due to weak enforcement of current environmental regulations. In an interview with CCTV’s World Insight, Carnegie-Tsinghua’s Wang Tao explained the various causes of this problem. He pointed out that environmental protection agencies are understaffed and do not have the power to oppose government officials that prioritize GDP growth over environmental protection.
Wang proposed a number of short-term solutions, such as utilizing newer technology that reduces emissions from factories and vehicles as well as ensuring that regulations are enforced. In the long term, though, he said that China needs to reduce its energy reliance on coal and increase the use of other energy sources such as nuclear, hydroelectric, and solar power. Questions remain over how Chinese authorities will create policy incentives and establish the infrastructure necessary for China to decrease its reliance on coal and work toward lower levels of smog. The public, Wang concluded, could play a significant role in exerting necessary pressure on Chinese authorities to address this issue of pollution. He added that lower vehicle usage and electricity consumption by the Chinese public will also have an impact on reducing pollution.