China / Society

Experts hail revised environmental law

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-04-30 14:19

BEIJING - Chinese environmental experts have hailed the recently revised Environmental Protection Law, which features harsher punishments for polluters.

The Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, voted last week to adopt the revised law.

Chai Fahe, deputy head of the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, said he was "impressed indeed" by the new law.

"With a long-term and legally-binding solution, the revised law has prepared a sound legal basis for the country's pollution prevention and control efforts and will effectively guarantee their implementation," said Chai.

Chai said the new law is expected to advance amendments to other laws, such as the law on air pollution control, which experts believe needs more detailed, specific and practical terms.

Chai praised the new law's clear stipulations on local governments' responsibility to ensure environmental quality and the accountability system for failure to do so. He also noted that such provisions should be enforced with practical policies.

Bie Tao, deputy director of the law and regulation department of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, said the revised law has impressed him with its support for research, application of environment-related sciences and technologies, and financial aid to develop the environmental protection industry.

The new law will be a strong measure for dealing with pollution, said Yuan Jie, head of the administrative law office of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee.

The law says that the country should establish and improve an environment and health monitoring, survey and risk assessment mechanism.

"That would help to curb the pollution at the source," Yuan said.

Hu Jianmin, vice president of state-owned power company China Huaneng Group, said enterprises may "feel the pressure" of harsher punishments under the new law.

"However, companies that are diligently practising pollution control regulations will be least affected," he said.

Hu said the new law will also bring about new opportunities to transform and upgrade enterprises as well as for the development of the clean energy market.

Zhang Guozhi, deputy environmental protection director of Taiyuan Iron and Steel Group, agreed.

"Enterprises that observe environmental regulations are usually investing more, and stiff punishments will trim the unfair advantages of polluters, acting as a protection for quality businesses," Zhang said.

However, the experts stressed that the strict law requires strict enforcement and all of society should be encouraged to combat pollution.

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