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Environment ministry needs a clear role | Updated: 2013-07-10 20:42

The Minister of Environmental Protection highlighted what he described as the awkwardness of his ministry. A column in Beijing News analyzed why (excerpts below).

"A joke says there are four awkward ministries in this world," said Zhou Shengxian, minister of environmental protection, at a recent meeting. "I heard my ministry is among them."

He is referring to the lack of a clear role in environmental protection.

Enforcement power is dispersed among various bodies: urban waste is supervised by urban management departments, while soil pollution is supervised by land resources departments.

In June 2011, an accident in Bohai Bay caused pollution but it was the State Oceanic Administration that had the power to issue fines.

As a result of the mess in law enforcement, environmental protection is far from satisfying in China.

The law covers almost every case in environmental protection, but they are simply not well implemented.

Only with a clear and precise definition of each department's role and power can any issue be tackled.

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