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Raise in penalties for lake polluters
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Factories along Taihu Lake, Jiangsu Province, now face a maximum fine of 1 million yuan (US$144,000), five times the old one, if they discharge excessive pollutants into the lake.

A new regulation on the prevention and control of water pollution that seeks to raise environmental standards will take effect today.

The regulation was approved by the standing committee of Jiangsu provincial people's congress last year.

Liu Qun, director of the environmental protection department of Wuxi Resin Factory of Bluestar New Chemical Materials Co Ltd, told China Daily yesterday the maximum amount of COD (chemical oxygen demand) discharge has been cut by half.

He said his factory will either have to cut down on production or invest more in wastewater treatment.

"We are forced to further intensify wastewater treatment, and the cost for that has increased by 2 yuan per ton," Liu said. He said the factory had spent more than 10 million yuan (US$1.44 million) since 2007 to upgrade its wastewater treatment facility.

While companies in the industrial sector will feel the pinch under the new environmental standards, attention is also being given to dealing with agricultural waste.

"Surface runoff from agricultural fields poses a big threat to water safety," Jiang Wei, director at the policy department of Jiangsu environmental protection bureau, said.

"Eco-agriculture is what we are after in our future planning," he said.

Under the new regulation cities on the upper and lower reaches of Taihu Lake will have to work together in fighting pollution. "Cities on the upper reaches that discharge excessive pollutants that flow into the lower reaches will be held responsible and will have to pay for it," Jiang said.

Taihu Lake, which supplies drinking water to Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces and Shanghai, witnessed a severe blue green algae outbreak in May last year.

(China Daily June 5, 2008)

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