China to toughen environment law, hold polluters accountable

BEIJING Sun Mar 9, 2014 12:27pm IST

Smoke rises from chimneys and cooling towers of a thermal power plant during sunrise in Fushun, Liaoning province March 6, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Smoke rises from chimneys and cooling towers of a thermal power plant during sunrise in Fushun, Liaoning province March 6, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

Related Topics

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will toughen its environmental protection laws to target polluters, according to a high-level policy report released on Sunday, paving the way for possibly unlimited penalties for polluting and the suspension or shutdown of polluters.

The revised law would hold "polluters accountable for the damage they cause and having them compensate for it", said the report, delivered by Zhang Dejiang, who sits on the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee as one of the country's most powerful politicians.

Premier Li Keqiang declared a "war on pollution" in a report during the country's annual parliamentary session on Wednesday, but critics say the statement amounts to mere rhetoric without legal reforms to back it up.

The environment has emerged as one of Beijing's key priorities amid growing public disquiet about urban smog, dwindling and polluted water supplies and the widespread industrial contamination of farmland.

Sources with ties to the leadership told Reuters in February that amendments to China's 1989 environmental law would expand the environment ministry's powers significantly and allow regulators to suspend and shut down repeat offenders.

Sunday's policy report did not give specific details on how enforcement would be toughened. China's environment ministry has historically been unable to enforce anti-pollution laws effectively.

Almost all Chinese cities monitored for pollution last year failed to meet state standards.

China tested a domestically-produced drone aircraft that disperses smog by releasing a chemical catalyst, state media reported on Sunday.

(Reporting By Megha Rajagopalan; Editing by Michael Perry)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

TOP SHOWCASE

Tough Line

Tough Line

Rural votes, old traumas drive India's WTO brinkmanship.  Full Article 

Earnings Season

Earnings Season

Bharti Airtel misses quarterly profit estimate on Africa woes.  Full Article 

New Funds

New Funds

E-tailer Flipkart raises $1 billion in funding.  Full Article 

Gaza Crisis

Gaza Crisis

Israel knocks out Gaza power plant, digs in for long fight.  Full Article 

Soccer League

Soccer League

Critics claim fading stars unlikely to shine on in India.  Full Article 

Reuters Analysis

Reuters Analysis

Putin may have passed point of no-return over Ukraine.  Full Article 

Eid Mubarak

Eid Mubarak

Eid al-Fitr was celebrated across India on Tuesday. Here are some of the snapshots.  Slideshow 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage