By Wu Ping, DRC
With the continued looming up of haze weather, various kinds of public opinions including rumors all cropped up. Apart from those complaints, we need to face up to the rumors while taking positive measures to curb the occurrence of haze weather.
There are several types of rumors, some are irresponsible remarks, some take the partial facts for the overall picture, some please the public with claptrap, and some perpetrate frauds. The environmental protection departments need to clear up these misunderstandings and rumors and let people know what is really happening.
Rumors are caused by different reasons. 1. The information disclosure is insufficient. The truth behind these rumors is that the related information disclosure by the relevant government departments is not in time, and the distribution channels are not smooth. Some officials even tried to hide the facts or avoid releasing the related information. 2. The efforts made in and results of controlling haze weather cannot meet people’s expectations, which have given some people a chance to spread rumors. 3. Insufficient introduction of scientific knowledge has made mass media make garbled quotation of research findings and led to misunderstanding by the people, causing unreasonable panic and anxiety. 4. The measures adopted by the government are ineffective, and the "short-term measures" are considered to be "effective, but short-lived".
We need to actively respond to the public opinions relating to haze weather. First, the government needs to positively release corresponding information relating to haze weather prior to the spreading of rumors. Second, it is necessary to improve the ability of scientific research and the popularization of scientific knowledge, provide more accurate data to shore up scientific analysis, and enable people to take an appropriate approach toward haze weather. Third, the government needs to enhance its ability to address public opinions, improve the level of early warning, give timely response to social hot issues, and gain a bigger say in giving scientific explanations to haze weather. Fourth, the government needs to intensify regulation over mass media, and adopt more measures to restrain the spreading of rumors so as to reduce people’s worries and put in more efforts for haze governance.