Whittling down pollution

By Tang Yuankai
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Beijing Review, October 28, 2014
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On October 1, the Supreme People's Court (SPC) began to solicit feedback on an interpretation it published on adjudicating environment-related civil public interest lawsuits.

The inauguration of the Ecological Protection Tribunal of Qingzhen People's Court in Guizhou Province on November 20, 2007 (CNSPHOTO)

The 34-article document is an interpretation of the application of several environment-related laws, including the Environment Protection Law adopted by the National People's Congress on April 24, and will go into effect in January 2015. The document covers such topics as the requirements for prosecution, burden of proof, and liabilities.

In recent years, as China's economy grows by leaps and bounds, the country also faces serious resource constraints, exacerbating environmental pollution and ecological degradation, which jeopardizes the general populace's health and the sustainability of social and economic development.

This June, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) released the 2013 Report on the State of the Environment in China. The report shows that only 4.1 percent of the 74 cities that applied the new ambient air quality standards (GB3095-2012) reported good air quality. Among the other 256 cities that still use old standards, 69.5 percent met requirements.

Among the state-controlled monitoring stations of 10 major freshwater sources, 9 percent reported water quality worse than Grade V. On the scale, water of the highest quality is rated as Grade I, with Grade III and above considered fit to drink, to swim in and for daily household use.

Of the 4,778 monitoring spots for groundwater, 59.6 percent reported poor or extremely poor water quality.

In addition, another report issued jointly by the MEP and the Ministry of Land and Resources in April showed that about 16.1 percent of the country's soil is polluted.

Moreover, environmental problems have given rise to more and more public disputes and protests, undermining social stability.

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