The government of China announced the appointment of a new environment minister on Tuesday, following the former environment minister, Chen Jining, being appointed as the acting mayor of Beijing.
The new environment minister, Li Ganjie, takes up the job only around a month after being named as the new party chief of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, interestingly.
Going by reports from the Xinhua news agency, Ganjie has promised to wage a “protracted battle” against the country’s significant air, water, and soil pollution problems. Additionally, he says that he is going to take environmental protection in the country to “a new level.”
Reuters provides more: “A former masters student in nuclear reactor engineering at Tsinghua University, Li spent nine years as a vice-minister in charge of nuclear safety at the ministry before leaving to become deputy party secretary of Hebei province in October last year.
“Hebei, the location of 6 of China’s 10 smoggiest cities in the first five months of this year and one of the front lines of China’s war on pollution, is likely to remain a key focus of Li’s work.
“Hebei has promised to put in place the ‘strictest environmental protection system’ by 2020, with targets to cut air pollution and improve soil and water quality throughout the province.”
It’s of course hard to tell at this point how serious the new environment minister’s comments are, but considering how severe the country’s pollution problems are, and the degree of public anger on the matter, presumably they have something to them. After all, if changes aren’t forthcoming in the coming years, then there are likely to be some significant political problems not too far down the line.
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