Shanghai takes aim at polluters and regulators.
Environmental protection is about to be included as ametric for assessing district governors in Shanghai. Anyone whose neglect of duty leads to severe consequences must accept blame and resign.
It is one of the latest measures in the city’s newly amended environmental protection regulation, which takes effect on Oct 1. It demonstrates the government’s resolve to provide maximum protection to the environment, said Chen Yin, deputy-mayor of Shanghai, as the regulations were released at a news conference onWednesday.
“Any district governor who covers up for environmental violations, who allows an enterprise to falsify monitoring data or who doesn’t suspend or shut down an enterprise when that should be done will be required to step down if any severe consequence occurs related to their misconduct,” Chen said.
“If it doesn’t cause severe consequences, he or she will be given a demerit on their record or be demoted.”
Strict enforcement will be carried out, according to the regulation.
Any enterprise fined for illegal discharges but which fails to correct the problem will be charged daily, beginning with the day the notice of fine was received.
Pollutants may include gas, liquid, solid waste or radiation that an enterprise or construction project discharges. The regulation takes particularaimat secret discharges of pollutants by means of hidden conduits, seepage wells, rainwater drains or dumping.
Penalty amounts will be based on such factors as the direct losses caused by the illegal act, as well as gains made as a result of noncompliance, the regulation says.
“In addition, severe offenders will face suspension of production and even closure,” Chen said.
Since the beginning of last year, when the country’s previous environmental protection law took effect, the upper limit of the penalty has been 1 million yuan ($150,000), up dramatically from the 100,000 yuan set in the earlier version of the law passed a decade ago.
In 2015, nearly 2,600 environmental violations were investigated and resolved in Shanghai, a year-on-year rise of 34 percent. Altogether, 173 million yuan was levied in fines, up 68 percent from the previous year.
“The fines amounted to 133 million yuan in the first eight months of this year,” said Jiang Zihao, a senior legal specialist at the legislative affairs office of the Shanghai city government. “The implementation of law is getting tougher, imposing high costs as a deterrent to breaking the law.”
Two other measures in the regulation are designed to pressure polluting enterprises into taking the initiative to fix problems. The measures include charging higher electricity rates for violators and placing their names on a credit blacklist to make applying for loans difficult.