Pollution accidents must be reported within an hour after they
are discovered, China's environmental watchdog said yesterday.
Accidents should be reported to local governments or
environmental protection bureaus, the State Environmental
Protection Administration (SEPA) said.
Serious accidents have to be reported directly to the State
Council or SEPA.
The authorities are to investigate accidents immediately after
receiving the report; and those who fail to report in time will be
punished for dereliction of duty, SEPA said.
"With such a reporting system, SEPA will keep the public updated
with the latest and most accurate information," a SEPA spokesperson
The announcement follows a series of pollution cases in the last
three months, the biggest of which was benzene pollution in
northeast China's Songhua River, caused by a chemical factory
explosion in November. Since then, SEPA has received reports of
more than 40 environmental accidents.
Most of them were related to water pollution, including cadmium
pollution in the Beijiang River in south China's
According to a recent national survey, more than half of the
country's 21,000 chemical enterprises are located along the
country's two major river basins, the Yellow and Yangtze rivers.
Many of the plants did not undergo environmental-impact assessments
and were built in residential areas or on upper reaches of
After the Songhua River pollution, the environmental authorities
Jilin Province were criticized by SEPA for poor work in
reporting the case in a timely manner.
(China Daily February 7, 2006)