Given its serious impacts on the public’s health, air pollution in China is a matter of strong public concern, particularly in reference to malodorous waste gas. Petition letters related to atmospheric pollution accounted for about 40% of the total petition cases. However, scholarly views differ on whether the Chinese government responds to public opinion on the environment and seeks to improve its environmental governance behavior. For this study, data from national surveys on the public’s environmental satisfaction administered during the period 2011–2015 were analyzed to determine whether the public’s dissatisfaction with the state of the environment in a given year resulted in increased investments by provincial governments in pollution governance during the following year. The study’s findings revealed that governmental behavior in response to public opinion on the environment was selective within the field of environmental governance, with provincial governments being inclined to invest more in waste gas pollution control than in water pollution control. Furthermore, results from this study show that the Chinese government tends to put more efforts into the environmental field where it could more easily achieve short-term benefits.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited