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June 20, 2014

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Home » Metro » Environment

Air polluters set to receive tougher penalties

POLLUTERS face harsher penalties under a draft amendment of an air pollution prevention law reviewed by the city legislative body yesterday.

Under this, anyone found guilty of discharging major air pollutants without a license faces a fine of up to 500,000 yuan (US$80,645) — compared to the current 100,000 yuan.

The minimum fine will also be raised to 50,000 yuan, from 10,000 yuan at present.

Tougher penalties are required in the implementation of China’s air pollution prevention law as current fines are too low to act as a deterrent, said Shanghai lawmakers.

In addition to other penalties, companies guilty of violations will be charged higher electricity prices until they take action, according to the amendment.

And businesses already fined will face additional fines on a daily basis if they fail to take action to stop violations. The daily fine will be the same sum as the original fine.

Individuals will also face personal penalties in serious violations, in addition to fines levied against the companies they work for, the amendment states.

Stricter measures will also be introduced for vehicles.

Emission tests on motor vehicles that have been registered for more than 10 years will be increased, while powerboats are banned from discharging polluting black smoke.

Meanwhile, officials who are found in dereliction of duty regarding air pollution violations will face administrative and criminal sanctions.

And individuals who tip off authorities about air pollution violations will be rewarded if their findings are verified, under the amendment.

Members of the public are also encouraged to report authorities and officials who fail in their obligations on air pollution control and prevention.

They will receive rewards from environmental protection authorities if their tip-offs prove true, according to the draft.

A tip-off hotline will be announced by environmental protection authorities, it said.

Under Shanghai’s Air Quality Index, quality is “excellent” or “good” when the index is below 100; “lightly” or “moderately” polluted for between 101 and 200; and “heavily” or “severely” polluted between 201 to 500.

The new system will see building sites shut, factory operations discharging pollutants suspended and earth-moving vehicles banned from roads on severely polluted days.

The city had 52 days of excellent air quality last year.


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