Stricter reg­u­la­tions aid pol­lu­tion fight

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By CAO YIN and ZHENG JINRAN Con­tact the writ­ers at caoyin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China has been tight­en­ing reg­u­la­tions on pol­lu­tion un­der a re­vised law that took ef­fect last year, in a move to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment by in­tro­duc­ing harsher pun­ish­ments and stricter law en­force­ment, the coun­try’s top leg­is­la­ture said.

A re­port is­sued on Wed­nes­day by the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress Stand­ing Com­mit­tee said that po­lice of­fi­cers, pros­e­cu­tors and judges have made sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions to the han­dling of pol­lu­tion-re­lated cases since the re­vised law came into ef­fect on Jan 1 last year.

Last year, Chi­nese public se­cu­rity au­thor­i­ties recorded a to­tal of 6,035 pol­lu­tion-re­lated cases and ar­rested more than 12,000 sus­pects, year-on-year in­creases of 16 per­cent and 42 per­cent re­spec­tively, the re­port said.

“Po­lice, courts and prose­cut­ing de­part­ments joined the fight against pol­lu­tion last year through harsher pun­ish­ments and stricter law en­force­ment,” said Shen Yueyue, vice-chair­man of the NPC Stand­ing Com­mit­tee.

The re­port said Chi­nese courts at all lev­els ac­cepted 167,000 en­vi­ron­men­tal dis­putes from Jan­uary last year to June this year, of which 148,000 have been con­cluded.

Thanks to the re­vised law, public-in­ter­est law­suits brought by NGOs have been al­lowed, with the num­ber of such lit­i­ga­tions ris­ing rapidly, it said.

By June, the na­tional courts had heard 123 en­vi­ron­men­tal public-in­ter­est law­suits, but from 2007 to 2014, the fig­ure was just 65, ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics from the top court.

Tian Weiy­ong, head of the En­vi­ron­men­tal In­spec­tion Bureau un­der the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion, com­mended such ef­forts. “The stricter the laws we en­force, the greater the threat is to those with in­ten­tion to pol­lute or harm our en­vi­ron­ment.”

DONG XUMING / FOR CHINA DAILY

Chil­dren wait for in­ter­views to en­roll in the pri­vate Changjiang Ex­per­i­men­tal Pri­mary School in Hangzhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, last year.

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