BEIJING, Feb. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- China will take into account environmental quality in evaluating work of regional officials, a measure deemed important to curb reckless pursuit of GDP growth at the cost of the environment.
"Result of the evaluation will become one of the
factors to decide the appointment of officials and giving rewards or punishments
to them," says a decision of the State Council on strengthening environmental
protection, made public Tuesday.
According to the decision, consumption of resources,
environmental degradation and environmental efficiency will be phased into
economic growth evaluation system.
It says regional governments should set environmental
protection targets and regularly evaluate efforts to meet the targets.
"Leading officials and other relevant government
officials will be punished for making wrong decisions that cause serious
environmental accidents and for gravely obstructing environmental law
enforcement," says the decision.
Last year, China sacked chief of its environmental
protection administration for his responsibility in grave pollution of the
Songhua River pollution, which affected water supply to millions of residents
along the river.
"The officials will care more about environmental
protection if their destinies are linked with it," said Zhou Sheng, a university
teacher in Beijing.
"If they begin to treat the environment seriously,
then there is indeed hope in environmental protection," he said.
The State Council decision also orders relevant
departments to make fiscal, taxation, financial, pricing, trade, scientific and
technological policies that support environmental protection.