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China Daily Website

SOEs should be role models in environmental protection

Updated: 2012-09-28 22:35
( chinadaily.com.cn)

Three companies affiliated with State-owned Sinopec, China's largest petrochemical group, were exposed as heavy polluters, says an article in China Business News. Excerpts:

The wastewater they discharged contaminated local waters. They also resumed operations without authorization of environmental authorities after they were ordered to suspend production by the environmental watchdog.

The headquarters of Sinopec in Beijing ordered the three companies to stop production and deal with the pollution problem as soon as possible.

The incident highlights the fact that SOEs, which are supposed to be a role model for other companies when it comes to environmental protection, are causing heavy environmental problems.

Local environmental authorities may have more difficulty handling those powerful companies.

Most of these companies are important contributors to the local economy and to the local government's income. So some local governments are reluctant to suspend the enterprises' operations.

Compared with private companies, SOEs mostly have stronger financial and technological abilities to reduce their impact on the environment to a very low level. So the pollution incidents of Sinopec should serve as a warning for the others to really pay attention, behave environmentally and do their best to protect the environment.

There should also be a severe accountability system regulating and supervising SOEs. When self-discipline fails, the environmental and local authorities should do more to deter the polluters from doing harm.