• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 9:18am

Polluted river not my responsibility, says Chinese official after 'reward offer'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 February, 2013, 11:46am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 February, 2013, 3:17pm

A senior environment official of a town in eastern China said his bureau was "not responsible" for a polluted river after he was challenged to swim in the water for 200,000 yuan. 

Bao Zhenming, the environmental protection bureau chief of Ruian, in coastal Zhejiang province, was offered the reward (HK$246,000) by an entrepreneur who wanted to bring attention to waste-dumping in the river.

The responsibility does not lie with us, but we will pay attention to it

"We are not responsible [for the pollution]," Bao told Cnr.cn, the Web site of the official broadcaster China National Radio, on Monday.

“The responsibility does not lie with us, but we will pay attention to it,” Bao said.

Passing on the responsibility, he added he had alerted the water conservancy bureau about the river pollution.

On Saturday, the Hangzhou entrepreneur, Jin Zengmin wrote on Sina Weibo: “If the environmental protection bureau chief dares to swim in [Ruian's] river for 20 minutes, I will pay [him] 200,000 yuan.”

He also uploaded several photos of the river, which looked entirely blocked by floating rubbish. Jin accused rubber overshoe factories along the river for dumping industrial waste into the river, and he complained about the environmental bureau’s inaction.

The Cnr.cn report on Monday said some of the rubbish from the river had been picked up and piled onto the shore nearby. Most of the items were disposable cutlery, pieces of wood and plastic bottles.

Bao's colleague, Huang Jinliang, denied Jin’s allegation, saying the bureau had not found any illegal dumping of waste by rubber shoe manufacturers.

Huang said the rubbish in the river comes from people, and not from factories. According to law, the environmental protection bureau is not responsible for dealing with household garbage, Huang said on Monday.

The environmental protection bureau also said it currently had no plans to evaluate river’s pollution in the future.

“Overpopulation of this region is the main reason behind the pollution…[The population] has largely exceeded the local environment’s capacity," Bao told chinanews.com on Sunday.

According to Bao, the Xianjiang area where the river flows has 44,000 residents, but the migrant population amounts to 80,000 alone. Zhejiang province and its many factories draw hundreds of thousands of migrants from across the country every year.

Jin, chief executive of an eyeglasses retailer, said he came up the idea after a trip to his childhood home, Ruian, where he was shocked by the heavily polluted river.

“This river used to be a main traffic route, and villagers used to wash vegetables and clothes here,” Jin told chinanews.com. “It still carries a lot of my childhood memories.”


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Agree. Hong Kong is overpopulated too but I can't see rubbish floating on surface of Victoria harbour. The root of problem is the sense of responsibility, esp the managerial grades.
Do you really believe with China's capabilities: economic developmesnts and technological advancements, would be insufficient to help the environment? China is a communist country but leaning towards dictatorship. If the chairman does order "the most drastic environmental and pollution clean up strategies tomorrow" Surely the pollution problem could be immensley reduced. Yes, Chinese people are greedy. But if youd like to find someone to blame, human nature would be to blame. Please dont argue other countries have more environmental friendly people as those are only the individuals, you have to stop viewing people as "a whole"
The effects are already realized, and its never to late to try to correct a mistake
In the latest report, Bao indeed claimed his bureau should not be responsible for the polluted river as the pollution has much to do with residential waste rather than industrial waste. Nevertheless, he has informed other government branches of the area, such as water conservancy bureau and village committee, to help clean up the rubbish.
Besides concerning about the growth of GDP in China, do the government put more resources on environmental protection and also moral education of citizens? The faster the pace the city developed, the faster the deterioated city that we are seeing now. China citizens certainly needs to be educated, everyone should take its responsibility to protect the environment. I disagree with what Bao said, overpopulation is not a main causes of such pollution, people 's irresponsibility is the reason causes instead.
These pollution stories will never end. Even if china implemented the most drastic environmental and pollution clean up strategies tomorrow (which is never EVER going to happen), the effects would take decades to be realised. It's beyond too late and anyone living in these heavily polluted cities/areas are destined for a significantly shortened life span that will be tainted by hospital visits to deal with breathing and other related problems. It all comes down to one thing in china,......greed.
According to your journalist Chris Lou, the high official Bao Zhenming declared he was not responsible for the pollution. But in your China Digest of February 19, 2013. SCMP reported that a “Clean-Up” pledge was made by the very same Bao Zhenming. Who is correct?


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