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Severe Punishment Suggested on Water Polluters
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Chinese lawmakers on Tuesday suggested a more severe punishment on enterprises that overdischarge water pollutants.

The amount of pollutants discharged into water by a factory should not exceed the limit set by the national or local regulations, and offenders will be fined 100,000 yuan to 1 million yuan (US$131,600), according to the draft amendment to the Water Pollution Prevention and Control Law which was submitted to the on-going 29th session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), or China's top legislature.

The current fines on those enterprises overdischarging sewage are too gentle to stop them from further water pollution, said Ni Yuefeng, member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC).

Even the heaviest fine of 1 million yuan in the amendment is not a big sum, compared with the cost of running a sewage farm, Ni said, adding that many heavy water polluters would rather pay the fine than operating a sewage plant.

Ni suggested to further increase the fine, but did not give an exact amount.

He said that the fines should be counted according to the discharged pollutant amount based on the daily monitoring data, and the operation of the online monitoring equipments should also be subjected to regular supervision.

Earlier reports said that the emission of chemical oxygen demand (COD), a measure of water pollution, rose by 0.24 percent to 6.9 million tons in the first six months of this year in China.

(Xinhua News Agency August 29, 2007)

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