Chinese Premier Li Says Smog in East China Gives Him Heavy Heart

Premier Li Keqiang said smog blanketing eastern China in recent days gave him a “heavy heart” and vowed more effort to combat polluted air and water.

‘This is a problem that has built up over a long period of time,’’ Li told a briefing after the conclusion of the national legislature’s annual session today. “This government will show even greater resolve and take more vigorous efforts to clean up such pollution.”

The environment shouldn’t be sacrificed for the sake of growth, Li said. Outside the Great Hall of the People, where Li spoke, the level of PM2.5, the small particulates that pose the biggest risk to human health, reached 242 as of 11 a.m. today, with a 24-hour average of 197, according to Beijing city government readings. The World Health Organization recommends 24-hour exposure to PM2.5 of no higher than 25.

“In the course of development we will do out best to ensure people can breathe clean air and have safe drinking water and food,” Li said.

— With assistance by Xin Zhou

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