Clear­ing the air

Sta­tion­ary sources of pol­lu­tion must be li­censed by 2020

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHENG JINRAN zhengjin­ran@chi­

A re­vamped pol­lu­tant dis­charge pol­icy has been re­leased that re­quires all sta­tion­ary sources of pol­lu­tion in China to be li­censed by 2020, to fur­ther curb emis­sions, the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion said.

It comes as China’s en­vi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment poli­cies have not been fully im­ple­mented, and are fail­ing to curb pol­lu­tion ef­fi­ciently, thus re­quir­ing the ac­tion plan, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from the State Coun­cil, which re­leased the plan on Nov 21.

“The pol­lu­tants dis­charged from com­pa­nies have be­come one of the ma­jor sources of pol­lu­tion, thus it’s vi­tal to re­duce the to­tal emis­sions by cut­ting their dis­charge,” said Chen Jin­ing, min­is­ter of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion.

Some com­pa­nies have dis­charged pol­lu­tants ex­ces­sively or through il­le­gal pipe­lines, lead­ing to en­vi­ron­ment de­te­ri­o­ra­tion in some re­gions, Chen said.

The re­vised dis­charg­ing pol­icy will give com­pa­nies a pol­lu­tant dis­charge per­mit, which cov­ers specifics such as the va­ri­ety of pol­lu­tants, con­cen­tra­tion, and amounts al­lowed. Those which vi­o­late the re­stric­tions will face stricter penal­ties rang­ing from sus­pen­sion of op­er­a­tions to crim­i­nal charges, ac­cord­ing to the plan.

All com­pa­nies should ap­ply for the li­cense be­fore un­der­tak­ing in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion, al­low­ing the au­thor­i­ties to mon­i­tor pol­lu­tion in ad­vance.

“The new li­cense will be the only ad­min­is­tra­tive per­mis­sion for com­pa­nies to dis­charge pol­lu­tants,” said Wang Jian, deputy head of the depart­ment in charge of air pol­lu­tion con­trol un­der the min­istry, adding with­out the li­cense, the com­pa­nies are for­bid­den to dis­charge pol­lu­tants.

The pol­icy will come into force by the end of 2016 in ther­mal power plants and pa­per­mak­ing com­pa­nies, and then ex­pand to cover 15 ma­jor in­dus­tries which dis­charge air and wa­ter pol­lu­tants by 2017.

By 2020, all com­pa­nies dis­charg­ing pol­lu­tants will be cov­ered, ac­cord­ing to the sched­ule.

Wang, the deputy head, said the dis­charge per­mit had proven ef­fec­tive in re­duc­ing pol­lu­tion in the United States, adding that the US has seen sul­fur diox­ide emis­sions re­duced to 4.69 mil­lion met­ric tons in 2013, from 28.32 mil­lion tons in 1970.

“But cur­rently, we face some prob­lems in im­ple­ment­ing the poli­cies, low­er­ing the per­for­mance in fight­ing pol­lu­tion,” he said.

Since the 1980s, 27 prov­inces have re­leased poli­cies con­cern­ing pol­lu­tant dis­charge li­censes, cov­er­ing over 240,000 com­pa­nies, Wang said.

But they have not adopted a uni­fied stan­dard for emis­sions, and the pol­lu­tants in­cluded in these li­censes are not wide-rang­ing enough, ren­der­ing them in­ef­fec­tive in re­duc­ing air pol­lu­tion, the min­istry said.

The re­vised pol­icy will set uni­fied stan­dards on emis­sions for the tar­geted in­dus­tries across the coun­try and cover as many pol­lu­tants as nec­es­sary.

More­over, the en­vi­ron­men­tal in­spec­tion force can fo­cus on re­view­ing the li­cense since it will cover more as­pects about pol­lu­tion in­stead of check­ing many doc­u­ments in var­i­ous fields, Wang said.

En­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion agen­cies will ver­ify and is­sue the li­censes, which will cover three years at first and then five years af­ter re­newal, and stricter sanc­tions will be en­forced should busi­nesses ex­ceed their lim­its.

In ad­di­tion, an in­for­ma­tion plat­form to be es­tab­lished by 2017 will man­age li­censes, ap­pli­ca­tions, ver­i­fi­ca­tion and su­per­vi­sion, which will be made pub­lic and en­able en­ter­prises and law en­forcers to share in­for­ma­tion.

“The li­cense will be­come the core pol­icy for a se­ries of ef­forts in con­trol­ling pol­lu­tion from com­pa­nies,” Wang said.

But cur­rently, we face some prob­lems in im­ple­ment­ing the poli­cies ...” Wang Jian, of­fi­cial, Min­istry of En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion


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