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Stricter regulations aid pollution fight

By Cao Yin and Zheng Jinran | China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-03 07:58

China has been tightening regulations on pollution under a revised law that took effect last year, in a move to protect the environment by introducing harsher punishments and stricter law enforcement, the country's top legislature said.

A report issued on Wednesday by the National People's Congress Standing Committee said that police officers, prosecutors and judges have made significant contributions to the handling of pollution-related cases since the revised law came into effect on Jan 1 last year.

Last year, Chinese public security authorities recorded a total of 6,035 pollution-related cases and arrested more than 12,000 suspects, year-on-year increases of 16 percent and 42 percent respectively, the report said.

"Police, courts and prosecuting departments joined the fight against pollution last year through harsher punishments and stricter law enforcement," said Shen Yueyue, vice-chairman of the NPC Standing Committee.

The report said Chinese courts at all levels accepted 167,000 environmental disputes from January last year to June this year, of which 148,000 have been concluded.

Thanks to the revised law, public-interest lawsuits brought by NGOs have been allowed, with the number of such litigations rising rapidly, it said.

By June, the national courts had heard 123 environmental public-interest lawsuits, but from 2007 to 2014, the figure was just 65, according to statistics from the top court.

Tian Weiyong, head of the Environmental Inspection Bureau under the Ministry of Environmental Protection, commended such efforts. "The stricter the laws we enforce, the greater the threat is to those with intention to pollute or harm our environment."

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