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Translation - English Do not Let the Taihu Lake Crisis Become "a Tragedy of the Commons"
An allegorical paradox is hidden behind the cyanobacteria crisis: when people are in a hurry to improve living conditions and to develop the economy, they also pollute the water environment of Taihu lake recklessly. Nowadays, cyanobacteria are growing wildly and lake water is also very stinky. Although Taihu lake nurtures the economic development of seven cities, including Shanghai, Suzhou and Wuxi, it is also one of the freshwater lakes which have the worst water condition in China. Since 1991, our country invested tens of billions of capitals to control the pollution; The government ministries and Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai operated the "Zero Remedial Action", but after this action, the public questioned that this action only treated the symptoms instead of the root causes. (Published on The Beijing News, 8th June)
In March 2006, the legislating job of Managing Regulations of Taihu Lake has officially initiated. Unfortunately, Taihu Lake has already suffered from the cyanobacteria crisis before the law was established. The management of Taihu Lake basin is led by regional administrations, although these administrations have their own specific tasks, their rights and obligations are not distinguished clearly on executions. Therefore, this caused the situation today that people focus on developments and ignore governances.
Taihu Lake's tragedy is actually a typical "tragedy of the commons". If the "public pasture" in the American scholar Hardin's eye was gradually destroyed by shepherds' unlimited pasture, then the reason why Taihu lake reaches its extremity is that the excessive developments and the rubbish disposal by surrounding cities. Taihu lake's pollution management almost succeeded but eventually failed in 2016, what is the main cause of this failure? It is just because the climate or the illegal pollution emissions from industrial enterprises should be responsible? Tens of billions of capitals have been invested, but the result we got is a Taihu lake fulfilled by cyanobacteria, behind the reality that the lake becomes more polluted with more governances, there are the formalism of governments' environmental actions, and a pollution managing mode which is not solid. In my opinion, although surrounding cities of Taihu lake has gained exponential growth in their economy, the adjustment of industrial structures is relatively slow, with the marketing economic entities' obsession of maximising profits, the environmental actions and pollution controlling actions by governments are also severely alienated.
As a basin's law, the intention of Managing Regulations of Taihu Lake was to define the rights and obligations of surrounding cities through clear property rights. General regulations such as the environmental and resource protection law and the water law cannot resolve special issues of rivers, lakes or seas. Different basin areas have different economic development levels and different historical and cultural backgrounds, they also have different situations of divisions and governances. Because these basin areas all have their own features, so the legislations are not entirely the same in aspects of modes, structures, managing mechanisms and system conceptions. However, what makes people feel regrettable is that our developing strategy always start with publishing policies, we can only think of legal methods and the necessity of the cooperating teamwork after the "tragedy of the commons" has already appeared.
The common experiences of every country in the world indicate that, the definition of regional environmental property rights must go through regional legislations. In the US, they established the Western Area Planting Encouragement Act of 1887 and the Desert Land Act of 1877 for the development in the western area, these laws are all great examples in this aspect. Nowadays, China is facing many regional economic developing issues, such as Exploitation of the Western Area, Rise of the Middle Area, Sustainable Development of the Eastern Area and Revitalisation of Old Industrial Areas in the Northeast Area, different developments and experiences make regional and basin's environmental legislations seem extremely important.
I am here to propose that, we not only need to establish laws to protect Taihu lake, we also need to do legislations to preserve Yangtze River and Yellow River.
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I worked in an English-Chinese translating group 3 years ago as a part-time job, I am familiar with translating tools like MemoQ and Trados. I had a great experience in CAT translating and subtitling, I also spent 3 years in a US-China cooperative university in China so I can deliver fluent English, I have been practicing my translations to further improve performance in this area.