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Environment

Chemical spill shows the danger of China’s model of economic growth at any cost

  • While attracting foreign investment can boost China’s economic growth, lax environmental regulations pose a risk to public health
PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 November, 2018, 7:02pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 November, 2018, 7:01pm

I am writing in response to the editorial, “Clumsy cover-up of toxic spill has again damaged public trust” (November 17).

As a result of the leaking of the C9 chemical in Quanzhou, Fujian, 52 villagers living nearby had to be hospitalised and many fish farms were contaminated. The culprit was the worn-out vessel which was used to transfer the chemical, a by-product of oil refining. This accident attracted international attention and should serve as a wake-up call that environmental pollution in China has reached a critical point.

The Chinese government prioritises economic development over protecting the environment. It imposes lenient restrictions on manufacturing companies to help attract foreign investment and boost economic growth, but at what cost? Lax regulation will put our environment and public health at risk.

How Chinese officials hid the truth about a dangerous chemical leak

The government should fully investigate the Quanzhou leak and reach an agreement with the affected villagers. Besides, the officials who tried to cover up the accident should be punished to deter similar behaviour in the future.

More importantly, the government should roll out a green economic strategy, which would take the community and the environment into consideration when officials make business-related decisions.

There are always costs and benefits to any plan. Therefore, it is important for the government to balance environmental, social and economic needs to maximise wealth in the long term.

Karen Ng, Tsing Yi