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Polluters in China beware – there’s a new Premier in town and he is ready to tackle pollution with an “iron fist,” he told media at his debut press conference over the weekend. While Li Keqiang did not mention any specific steps his government would take to clean up the country’s increasingly toxic waterways, skies and fields, he did specifically say that economic growth should not occur at the expense of the environment.

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Li’s debut press conference comes just days after another batch of rotting dead pigs was hauled out of a river that feeds Shanghai’s drinking water, bringing the total number of pigs found in the river to roughly 12,000, The Guardian reports. This combined with eye-and-lung burning air pollution – in some cases indexed at levels 30 times higher than what is considered safe – has roused the Chinese public all across the country.

Both on the streets and online, Chinese nationals are demanding that the government address the pollution problem – especially the record smog that has hovered over cities for weeks. Li in turn asked the public to do their part to combat the issue, and told reporters that “This government will show even greater resolve and take more vigorous efforts to clean up such pollution.”

After promising to phase out old production facilities that lack sufficient environmental controls, Li said “We need to face the situation and punish offenders with no mercy and enforce the law with an iron fist.”

Via The Guardian