China / Society

Govt to play bigger role in environmental protection

By ZHAO YINAN ( Updated: 2012-08-27 19:30

Lawmakers have moved to read a draft law on Monday that will highlight the role of the central and local governments in environmental protection.

The first revision since 1989 when China introduced its fundamental legal code on environmental protection - the Environmental Protection Law - the draft amendment was created after a four-year research and investigation project.

It includes a slew of responsibilities for the central and local governments, as well as for polluting companies, "a fundamental keynote in the amendment", said Wang Guangtao, director of the National People's Congress Environment Protection and Resources Conservation Committee.

The draft has expanded the standing stipulation related to governmental responsibilities, which includes only one general clause, into a complete chapter with a detailed explanation on the governmental obligations.

For instance, under the draft law, the evaluation of local officials will be affected if they fail to perform well in environmental protection matters. Such strict requirements are now only applied to officials that fail to meet family planning targets or when the number of dropout children in their areas exceeds a certain number.

The release of information on the quality of the local environment and the introduction of pollution fees are also, for the first time, listed as one of the legally binding obligations of the governments.

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