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Quota system to ease problem of Pudong's waste

PUDONG New Area is to pioneer the allocation of waste discharge quotas for businesses, government officials said yesterday.

The new policy in the latest round of its environmental protection action is aimed at ending the problem of random discharges and controlling the total amount of waste Pudong is releasing into the environment.

The government has finished appraising the total amount of waste discharged from 300 major businesses, which account for over 80 percent of the annual waste discharged in the area, according to Pudong environmental authorities.

The new policy will first be applied to major enterprises and the government is now working on drawing up detailed regulations, including the fees to be charged for each kind of waste.

"We charged very low waste discharging fees in the past, which could not compensate for losses due to environmental pollution," said Zhang Peijun, director of public sanitation department of Pudong Environmental Protection Bureau.

Companies will have to buy quota according to the official appraisal of their annual discharges to get a waste discharge license.

Companies exceeding the quota will pay higher fees or can buy quota from others who have less waste or who have improved waste treatment.

"The policy has been popular in the United States since 1990s," said Li Fengting, vice dean of Tongji University's environment and sustainable development institute. "It's a very effective way of motivating companies to reduce their waste discharge, but the government has to improve its supervising and management measures to support implementation of the policy."

He said the government had to upgrade their monitoring system to accurately appraise the discharge from each company and prevent the illegal discharge of pollutants after the new policy came into force.

Li said the country had been ignoring environmental protection in pursuit of GDP growth. "It may be easy for Pudong, with excellent GDP performance and many high-tech enterprises, to take the first step," Li said.

Meanwhile, he urged that the government should raise penalties for those illegally discharging waste.


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