Businesses in the Taihu Lake area will have to pay heavy fees to
discharge pollution into the lake and nearby waterways this year,
officials from the Jiangsu environmental protection bureau said
The Taihu Lake
The new regulation, approved by the State Environmental
Protection Administration and the Ministry of Finance last month,
is the first of its kind in the country. It will be implemented
initially in Suzhou, Wuxi, Changzhou, Zhenjiang and Nanjing, all in
The move is part of a long-awaited campaign to limit the amount
of pollution pumped into the region's waterways.
Taihu Lake, which provides drinking water for about 30 million
people in the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang as well as Shanghai
Municipality, has been heavily polluted by industrial waste,
pesticides and fertilizer since the 1980s.
The situation deteriorated in May last year when the lake
suffered from a massive blue-green algae outbreak that threatened
the water supply to more than 1 million residents of Wuxi.
The government closed down some 2,800 small chemical factories
after the bloom appeared.
The water quality in the Taihu Lake area is expected to improve
as the new rule takes effect, prodding companies to clean up their
operations to avoid fines, an official surnamed Gao, with the
publicity and education department of the provincial environmental
protection bureau, said.
The new regulation includes charges of 4,500 yuan (US$620) per
ton for increasing chemical oxygen demand, a measure of the amount
of oxygen used in a chemical reaction caused by chemical waste in
water, or double what it costs to treat polluted water.
Seven industries, including chemicals, textiles, iron and
steel-making, and paper mills, which are believed to pose the
biggest threat to water safety, will be subject to the fines.
Companies discharging more than their quota of pollution will
face fines of up to 1 million yuan. However, those that do not use
up their quotas are welcome to trade the difference with other
January 4, 2008)