Coun­try’s river, lake pro­tec­tion sys­tem to hold of­fi­cers ac­count­able

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By HOU LIQIANG and ZHENG JINRAN

The cen­tral gov­ern­ment has de­cided to set up a river and lake pro­tec­tion sys­tem linked to se­nior of­fi­cials’ per­for­mance eval­u­a­tion by the end of 2018, af­ter some re­gional pi­lot projects proved to be ef­fec­tive.

The sys­tem re­quires se­nior of­fi­cials of China’s pro­vin­cial, city, county and town­ship gov­ern­ments to take full re­spon­si­bil­ity as pro­tec­tion of­fi­cers for the rivers and lakes in the re­gion over which they have ju­ris­dic­tion, ac­cord­ing to a doc­u­ment re­leased on Sunday by the Com­mu­nist Party of China Cen­tral Com­mit­tee and the State Coun­cil.

The pro­tec­tion of­fi­cers will lead both the man­age­ment and pro­tec­tion of a river or lake, in­clud­ing water pro­tec­tion, riv- er bank man­age­ment and pollution pre­ven­tion, and their re­sults will be in­cluded in their per­for­mance eval­u­a­tion. The of­fi­cers will be held ac­count­able, even af­ter their re­tire­ment, for any eco­log­i­cal dam­age that re­sults on their watch, ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ment.

It also said the sys­tem will be pro­moted in dif­fer­ent re­gions ac­cord­ing to lo­cal con­di­tions. River and lake pro­tec­tion of­fi­cers’ re­sponsi- bil­i­ties and work phone num­bers will be posted pub­licly.

Pre­vi­ously, eight pro­vin­cial re­gions, in­clud­ing Jiangxi and Zhe­jiang prov­inces and Bei­jing and Tian­jin, con­ducted pi­lot projects us­ing the pro­tec­tion of­fi­cer sys­tem.

China’s east­ern Zhe­jiang prov­ince es­tab­lished a river pro­tec­tion of­fi­cer sys­tem in 2014. The of­fi­cers, who must pro­vide a cash de­posit, will miss out on pro­mo­tion op­por- tu­ni­ties and lose their de­posits if water qual­ity in their ju­ris­dic­tion falls be­low an an­nual tar­get.

Bei­jing es­tab­lished a sim­i­lar river pro­tec­tion sys­tem in June. Su Jian­hua, river pro­tec­tion of­fi­cer for the Bei­hanhe River, said of­fi­cers must pa­trol and clean the river and the nearby roads ev­ery day.

“All grass on the river bank has to be trimmed reg­u­larly and be kept be­low a height of 50 cen­time­ters. The clean­li­ness of all roads near the river guar­an­tees the clean­li­ness of the river,” she said.

Zhao Xiang of the Bei­jing Water Author­ity said pro­tec­tion of­fi­cers will co­or­di­nate with other gov­ern­ment de­part­ments to take en­force­ment ac­tion against un­law­ful acts that cause pollution.

Con­tact the writer at houliqiang@chi­

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