Shanghai Mayor Pledges to Tackle Environment, Food Safety

Shanghai’s government will tackle issues from the environment to food safety and education over the next five years and will welcome criticism and scrutiny from the public, the city’s new mayor said.

Authorities will also focus on reducing drug prices, traffic congestion and workplace accidents, Mayor Yang Xiong said in a speech in Shanghai today. Yang said he’s aware of the challenges facing the city and “inadequacies” in the government’s work.

Shanghai, the world’s busiest container port and home to the larger of China’s two stock exchanges, is seeking to become a global financial center by 2020. Plans to grow the city have come under scrutiny amid rising pollution levels and food-safety violations.

“We have the responsibility to find solutions to those issues step by step, as this is the expectation of the people and therefore the duty of this administration,” Yang, who replaced Han Zheng as mayor, said in the speech.

Shanghai’s government said in December it is considering harsher punishments for companies that violate food safety rules, according to a report by the official Xinhua News Agency, after state-broadcaster China Central Television reported some chickens supplied to Yum! Brands Inc. and McDonald’s Corp. had been indiscriminately fed antibiotics and growth hormones.

The city twice issued a haze warning this year after pollution levels climbed. The air quality index rose to “heavily polluted” levels in four of the 10 days through Feb. 1, according to the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center.