Chinese lawmakers work on law to control air pollution


The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress convened in Beijing on Monday to discuss the most pressing legal issue: environmental protection. The lawmakers held group discussions on an amendment to the air pollution law to enforce tougher penalties and controls. CCTV America’s Hou Na reported this story from Beijing.

The new draft was finished amid growing calls throughout the country for controls on air pollution. It addresses the sources, total discharge and density of pollutants.

“The amended draft now specifies punishment for violations such as discharging pollutants without certificate, excess discharge and fabricating monitoring data,” Wang Yunlong, NPC deputy said.

Based on the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s annual report on air quality, only three of China’s major 74 cities in 2013 had air pollution within acceptable national standards.

The average number of days with smog in the country in 2013 was 35.9, the most since 1961.

Coal-consumption sources contribute more to air pollution than they did 14 years ago, with such sources now including industrial production.

The new draft has separate chapters for each source.

“The highlights of the draft include more details on dealing with various pollution sources, including the required use of advanced equipment and technology in production, instructions on how to monitor vehicle exhaust, and bans on importing coal that emits an unacceptable level of pollution,” Liu Zhengkui, a member of NPC Standing Committee said.

The new draft lists the detailed financial punishments, saying those responsible for air pollution will face larger fines, at most five times the direct economic loss in each case.

In addition, the amendment also has other stipulations on fines for different violations involving pollution, information disclosure or other aspects.