Home / Environment / News Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Maximum Fine for Chemical Plant Pollution
Adjust font size:

China's top environment watchdog has fined the Jilin Petrochemical Company, a subsidiary of PetroChina, the maximum 1 million yuan (US$125,000) for seriously polluting the Songhua River.


An explosion at the company's chemical plant in northeast China's Jilin Province in November 2005 resulted in about 100 tons of waste containing benzene going into the nearby Songhua River.


The incident forced downstream cities along the river including Harbin, capital of northeastern Heilongjiang Province, to cut water supplies to 3.8 million people for several days.


Under Chinese law, companies can only be fined a maximum of 1 million yuan (US$125,000) for causing pollution.


The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) found the company guilty of contravening the Environmental Protection Law and two articles of the law on Prevention and Control of Water Pollution.


The incident triggered the resignation last year of China's former environmental chief Xie Zhenhua.


And 10 executives of PetroChina have received demerits on their personal records including Duan Wende who’s the company’s senior vice president.


SEPA has rarely applied the heaviest penalty to companies that cause pollution, Thursday's China Youth Daily reported. Some experts argued that the fine was inappropriately low considering the losses caused by the incident.


Professor Wang Jin, of Peking University, filed a lawsuit one month after the incident demanding compensation of 10 billion yuan (US$1.25 billion) from the company to restore the environment.


The case was not accepted by the court but sparked discussions over who should foot the bill for cleaning up the environment. The government spent huge sums during the pollution crisis and on the actual clean-up.


It again highlighted an embarrassing situation for China's environmental protection departments which are constrained by the current legal and policy system, the newspaper said.


The Environmental Protection Law has not been changed since 1989. Many complain it’s too "soft" with fines that are too low and local environmental watchdogs have few teeth.


Some companies find it’s cheaper to pay a fine than to improve their pollution controls, the report said.


And companies can be fined only once for a particular pollution incident in a certain period. This has prompted experts to call for a system under which companies can be fined for each day they violate pollution laws.


(Xinhua News Agency January 26, 2007)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name

China Archives
Related >>
- 10,000 Evacuated Over Chemical Plant Blasts
- Negligence Suspected Cause of Chemical Plant Blasts
- Cause of Jilin Chemical Blasts Discovered
- Pollution in Songhua River Tributary Controlled
- Songhua Tributary Slick Less Severe Than Feared
- Songhua River Set for Major Clean-up
Most Viewed >>
Air Quality 
Cities Major Pollutant Air Quality Level
Beijing particulate matter II
Shanghai particulate matter III1
Guangzhou sulfur dioxide II
Chongqing particulate matter III2
Xi'an particulate matter III1
Most Read
- White paper on energy
- Endangered monkeys grow in number
- Yangtze River's Three Gorges 2 mln years in the making
- The authorities sets sights on polluted soil
- China, US benefit from clean energy
NGO Events Calendar Tips
- Hand in hand to protect endangered animals and plants
- Changchun, Mini-marathon Aimed at Protecting Siberian Tiger
- Water Walk by Nature University
- Green Earth Documentary Salon
- Prof. Maria E. Fernandez to Give a Lecture on Climate Change
UN meets on climate change
The UN Climate Change Conference brought together representatives of over 180 countries and observers from various organizations.
Panda Facts
A record 28 panda cubs born via artificial insemination have survived in 2006.
South China Karst
Rich and unique karst landforms located in south China display exceptional natural beauty.
Saving the Tibetan Antelopes
The rare animals survive in the harsh natural environment of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.
Laws & Regulations
- Forestry Law of the People's Republic of China
- Meteorology Law of the People's Republic of China
- Fire Control Law of the People's Republic of China
- Law on Protecting Against and Mitigating Earthquake Disasters
- Law of the People's Republic of China on Conserving Energy
State Environmental Protection Administration
Ministry of Water Resources
Ministry of Land and Resources
China Environmental Industry Network
Chengdu Giant Panda Research Base