Date
23 May 2017
China's leadership has vowed to crack down on severe levels of air, water and soil pollution following decades of unbridled economic growth. Photo: internet
China's leadership has vowed to crack down on severe levels of air, water and soil pollution following decades of unbridled economic growth. Photo: internet

In a first, China prosecutors sue environmental department

Prosecutors in Shandong province have filed a lawsuit against a county-level environmental protection department, accusing it of “failing to fulfil its regulatory duties” in its supervision of a local sewage firm.

China’s Supreme People’s Procuratorate said Monday it was the first time prosecutors had sued a government department in a public interest case, Reuters reported.

“This is the country’s first administrative public interest litigation case after the National People’s Congress authorized prosecutors to file public interest lawsuits in a pilot program,” it said on its website.

The suit comes after China’s leadership vowed to crack down on severe levels of air, water and soil pollution, including the heavy smog that often blankets major cities, following decades of unbridled economic growth.

The work of environmental departments has come under extra scrutiny because of public discontent over the environment.

Experts say local governments have pressured courts not to go hard on polluting industries that drive their economies.

Prosecutors in Qingyun county in Shandong had investigated a local sewage firm over allegations that it lacked environmental protection facilities, the procuratorate said.

The department imposed only nominal administrative punishments and committed “illegal acts”, it said.

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