China is to get tough on executives responsible for causing severe pollution by fining them up to half their salary.
Heads of Chinese enterprises which cause severe pollution incidents may face the fine of half of their annual income, according to the draft of an amended law on water pollution.
The draft of amendment to the Water Pollution Prevention and Control Law was submitted on Tuesday for review to the 32nd session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), or top legislature.
"Enterprise heads directly responsible for causing severe water pollution incidents and others with direct responsibility would be fined up to half of their income in the previous year," the draft said.
Previous punishment of responsible company heads stopped at administrative penalties.
Enterprises would be held responsible for 30 percent of the direct loss of any serious water pollution incident they cause and 20 percent for incidents of medium consequences.
Water pollution is one of the biggest environmental concerns for both the government and public.
A 2006 survey revealed China's surface water generally suffered from medium pollution, but one third of the 744 samples tested were graded as the worst pollution rating.
According to statistics from the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), the administration handled 161 emergency environmental pollution incidents in 2006, 59 percent of which involved water pollution.
(Xinhua News Agency February 26, 2008)