A 60-strong police force was formed under the municipal public security bureau on Tuesday in Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province. It will be responsible for dealing with criminal acts in environmental pollution within the city, as well as assisting the environment bureau with administrative law enforcement.
Local public security and environmental protection bureaus have combined their efforts to facilitate environmental law enforcement with the foundation of a special police force in Kunming, capital of Yunan province.
The 60-strong police force, formed under the municipal public security bureau on Tuesday, is responsible for dealing with criminal acts in environmental pollution within the city, as well as assisting the environment bureau with administrative law enforcement, an officer surnamed Li at Kunming public security bureau told China Daily yesterday.
The move, regarded as the first of its kind, came in the wake of an arsenic pollution incident at Yangzong Lake, one of the nine plateau lakes in Yunnan.
A local factory was found to have polluted the lake with large amounts of arsenic in July.
With the current average arsenic concentration in the lake at 0.128 mg/l, twice what is considered safe for drinking, the water supply to more than 20,000 local residents has been threatened.
According to Gao Zhigang, deputy director of Kunming's environmental protection bureau, the establishment of such a police force would be instrumental in dealing with pollution incidents like the one in Yangzong Lake that has violated environmental laws in China.
"At the environmental protection bureau, we do not have the power to deal with criminal acts," Gao said.
"In the past, we would refer them to the local public security bureaus, but we are certainly not professional enough in judging whether those acts have violated the law or not.
"Such a police force is better positioned to do that. They will complement our job by not only assisting in administrative law enforcement, but also in dealing with criminal activities in environmental pollution that goes beyond our responsibilities, and referring those cases to prosecutors in a timely manner," he said.
The environment bureau said the city has also launched a special court at the Intermediate People's Court to deal with criminal acts in environmental pollution, which is part of the city's initiative to establish a mechanism between different parties on environmental protection.