Blue sky

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHOU WENTING in Shang­hai zhouwent­ing@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

Vi­o­la­tions in­ves­ti­gated

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.

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