Date
24 September 2017
Beijing and other major cities regularly suffer from heavy smog as companies routinely flout regulations against air pollution. Photo: Bloomberg
Beijing and other major cities regularly suffer from heavy smog as companies routinely flout regulations against air pollution. Photo: Bloomberg

China seeks to bolster fight against air pollution

Stepping up its fight for a cleaner environment, China approved amendments to its air pollution control law, increasing penalties for heavy polluters and giving local governments more responsibilities to clean the skies, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The State Council, which approved the amendments on Wednesday, said enterprises with excessive emissions or those that submit false data should be punished.

Enforcement of existing laws has been spotty, with companies routinely violating pollution regulations, the newspaper said, citing environmental experts.

The proposed changes include making local governments more responsible for air pollution in their regions. Environmental protection is one of the criteria used in assessing the performances of local officials.

The amendments are part of the country’s bid to battle dangerous pollution levels brought about by rapid economic growth. Beijing and other major cities are regularly suffering from heavy smog, wide swaths of farmland have been rendered unfit for agriculture, and water supply sources have been dirtied.

The proposals have to be passed by the National People’s Congress.

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