No limit to air pollution fines under new law
Apart from these new law, China’s new Air Pollution Control Law has also taken effect on the first day of the new year, featuring clearer responsibilities for governments and harsher punishments for illegal polluters.
The new law stipulates that the State Council should evaluate whether provincial-level governments are hitting the air quality improvement targets announced previously. Local governments within each province now will share responsibility for monitoring pollution, and are obliged to ban low-quality coal for residential use.
Illegal polluters should note that the new law has cancelled the previous pollution fine ceiling of 5 hundred thousand yuan, saying that there will be no limits to fines. Polluters will be charged according the number of days they release illegal emissions.
Meanwhile, the law also provides greater environmental transparency for the public, as rewards will be given to whistleblowers who give their real names when reporting illegal polluters, with assurances their privacy will be fully protected. But, as some lawmaker says, tougher penalties are not enough.
"Apart from tougher regulations, I think the government should also put more money into research on environmental protection, such as finding out the real cause of smog, and how we can fundamentally prevent it. More importantly, the new law must be fully implementation," said Fang Xin, member of NPC Standing Committee.