Tianjin will drastically raise fees for companies discharging pollutants into the environment from July 1, China Daily reported Wednesday.
Under the local government’s new policy, discharge fees for four major water and air pollutants — sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide, chemical oxygen demand (COD) and ammonia nitrogen — will be increased on a seven-level sliding scale based on the amount of discharges, the newspaper said.
This means that the more a company pollutes, the more it has to pay, officials were quoted as saying.
Fees for SO2 emissions will rise from 1.26 yuan (20 US cents) to a maximum of 6.30 yuan per kilogram, while fees for COD discharge will rise from 70 fen to a maximum of 7.5 yuan per kg.
Low fees encourage firms to pay to pollute rather invest in pollution reduction, Yu Hongbing, a professor of environmental science and engineering at Nankai University, was quoted as saying.
“An appropriate fee level should give enterprises an incentive to reduce pollution, but also not so high that they have to shut down their business,” Yu said.
Last year, 5,935 local companies in the fertilizer, power generation and iron and steel industries paid a combined 138 million yuan for discharging an estimated 168,400 metric tons of pollutants into the air and water systems, according to Li Jun, deputy director of the Tianjin Municipal Development and Reform Commission.
“But after the new policy takes effect, they are expected to pay almost 600 million yuan for that level of pollution discharge,” Li told the newspaper, adding that the money collected will be used to fund environmental protection programs.
Some 12,000 polluting companies in the municipality have been ordered to upgrade their facilities or shut them down, the report said.
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