More Stringent Environmental Laws (China)

The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress has approved the first revision to China’s Environmental Protection Law 1989 (EPL), paving the way for higher fines to deter polluters.

According to Xinhua, the revisions call for improved monitoring of both the environment and health; improved survey and risk assessment mechanisms; and more severe punishments for polluting. The revised EPL will go into effect on January 1, 2015.

In addition, The Shanghai Daily reports the Shanghai legislative body plans to produce a new, detailed environmental protection law this year aimed primarily at curbing PM2.5 pollution, which is tiny airborne particles that can pose particularly dangerous health risks.

This Air Pollution law will include exhaust discharge standards for vehicles and local factories as well as measures to control flying dust at construction sites.

A more-stringent Air Quality Index also took effect in November (Shanghai) and in another measure to be launched soon, about a third of local government vehicles will be taken off the road in Shanghai when the air is heavily polluted. Some factories and construction sites will be idled. Some outdoor activities also will be canceled when the index exceeds 300.