New Laws to Ensure Better Environment

China is to strengthen its legislation on environment and resources in the next five years. And the National People's Congress (NPC) must tighten its supervision of law enforcement in the new century, in order to stop further deterioration of the environment and the excessive use of natural resources, a top environment legislator said.

The country's top legislature, the NPC, plans to enact four new laws in the coming years regarding the evaluation of environmental changes, clean production, the prevention of sandstorms and desertification and the control of pollution by radio-active substances.

Meanwhile, legislators with the Environment and Resources Protection Committee have reached a consensus on formulating a law on the comprehensive utilization of natural resources, Qu Geping, chairman of the NPC Environment and Resources Protection Committee, told China Daily in a recent interview.

The legislators believe such a law may force enterprises and individuals to adopt environmentally-friendly work and life styles and use resources rationally, he elaborated.

Qu said that the drafting of the resource use law might be put onto the NPC agenda soon and he therefore expects it to be promulgated within the next few years.

According to Qu, the NPC will review and modify the existing laws on the environment and resources one by one, to adapt them to the changing conditions expected due to rapid economic and social development in the 10th Five-Year Plan (2001-05).

To date, China has mapped out 36 environmental protection laws and regulations.

There are also more than 600 local laws to protect the environment and natural resources.

The legislators will also give full consideration to the consequences China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) might bring.
Qu believes that China's impending entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) will provide a historic opportunity for the country to adjust its economic structure and facilitate the building of a more environmentally-friendly economy.

Environmental and ecological protection in the western development project will be another key issue to be highlighted in reviewing and modifying the environment and ecological protection laws in the next five years, according to Qu.

"The western region currently faces three major environmental problems - the recovery and development of vegetation; rational exploration and use of water resources and pollution control in cities and towns," said Qu.

Qu said he hopes the western region will take lessons from mistakes made by developed regions and eventually maintain a sound and co-ordinated environment and economic and social development.

Regarding law enforcement, Qu said that China has made great progress in law enforcement over the past two decades. But he added that law enforcement is not as strict as is needed.

The country will further increase the publicity of laws and regulations and augment manpower needed to supervise law enforcement in the next five years, Qu stressed.

(China Daily 11/20/2000)
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