China's environmental chief on Thursday unveiled a set of tough
new rules set to tackle worsening lake pollution, while lambasting
the country's "local policies" that encouraged officials to turn a
blind eye to environmental hazards.
The regulations follow findings showing "rampant" violation of
environment rules by almost nine in ten of the country's industrial
parks and two fifths of companies.
Zhou Shengxian, director of the State Environmental Protection
Administration (SEPA), said the new rules covering China's three
major lake areas -- the eastern Taihu Lake, Chaohu Lake and the
southwestern Dianchi Lake -- included:
A ban on all projects involving discharges containing ammonia and
phosphorus, and the denial of existing applications to establish
A ban on the production, use, and sales of detergents containing
phosphorous around the lake drainage areas.
The removal of all fish farms from the three lake areas by the end
A ban on fish, vegetable, and flower farms that may involve the use
of fertilizers within one kilometer of the lakeside.
Zhou outlined the measures at a special meeting on lake
pollution in Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui Province.
In the last two months, blue-green algae outbreaks have been
reported in the three lake areas, endangering domestic water
supplies. On July 4, water supply to 200,000 people in Shuyang
County, Jiangsu Province, was halted for more than 40 hours
after ammonia and nitrogen were found in a local river.
"Environmental problems, if improperly handled, can trigger
major social crises, and improving water quality has become our
most urgent task," Zhou told environmental officials.
SEPA investigations showed 87.3 percent of the 126 industrial
parks in 11 provinces had violated environmental rules, allowing
environmentally harmful companies into their parks.
They also showed half of the 75 waste water processing factories
failed to properly process water or were not operating at all. Of
529 companies that SEPA inspected, 44.2 percent were violating
"Hazards are everywhere, and environmental accidents are very
likely to happen," he said.
Some local officials often relied on companies for GDP
contribution and their own promotions, and failed in their
responsibilities to supervise the companies' environmental
"We must get rid of all protective local policies that sacrifice
the environment for profit," Zhou said.
Frequent water pollution incidents also increased the cabinet's
concern, as a State Council executive meeting presided over by
Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday stressed the need to
amend the existing law on handling water pollution, allowing for
China recorded 161 pollution accidents last year, according to
the SEPA. The authorities shut down 3,176 polluting plants in a
campaign in which the discharges of 720,000 companies were
inspected last year.
(Xinhua News Agency July 13, 2007)