China clamps down on environment violations, toughest law in 2015

By Global Times – Xinhua Source:Global Times - Xinhua Published: 2014-11-28 0:38:17

China will beef up environmental law enforcement as the country's toughest environment protection law will take effect next year, authorities said Thursday.

The State Council General Office recently issued a circular which set a timetable for four major tasks that local governments are required to complete by the end of 2016.

Local governments are required to scrap local rules that hinder environment law enforcement by June 2015, and complete a thorough environmental inspection as well as set up a supervision mechanism by the end of 2015. All illegal construction projects should be corrected or cancelled by the end of 2016.

Environment law enforcement officers must be transparent in executing their duties and show "zero tolerance" and severely punish five malicious acts. These are the illegal discharge and emissions of toxic substances, illegal disposal of hazardous waste, improper use of pollution treatment facilities and tampering with or fabricating environmental monitoring data, according to the circular.

The circular stressed that those who breach the law will be "blacklisted" and their identities made public.

Breaches of environmental regulations are frequent in China, partially due to weak law enforcement and light punishment. The number of criminal pollution cases last year exceeded the total number of similar cases over the last decade, the ministry said.

Some local governments would introduce preferential policies such as simplifying environmental assessment or reducing discharge fees to attract investment, Zou Shoumin, a senior ministry official, was quoted by The Legal Mirror as saying.

Officials who are responsible for major environmental incidents or interfere with law enforcement will be held legally accountable, said the circular.

Environmental issues have given rise to protests in recent years with residents angry at local authorities who they perceive to be damaging the environment and endangering public health with new construction projects.

Posted in: Environment

blog comments powered by Disqus