China needs further action to stop water pollution - vice premier

2015-08-31 08:07
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Beijing - China faces a "formidable task" to clean up its rivers and lakes and needs a fundamental change in attitudes to prioritise the environment over economic development at all cost, vice premier Wang Yang said.

China published a water pollution prevention action plan in April, promising to improve water supplies in the world's most populous country and second largest economy after years of heavy pollution caused by industrial development.

One-third of major Chinese river basins and 60% of its underground water is contaminated.

Speaking at a meeting to discuss the country's efforts so far, Wang said preventing water pollution remained a "formidable task".

"Not only do we need a fundamental change in thinking about development and ways of development, but we also need technological breakthroughs as well as commitment and legal support," he told the meeting on Saturday.

The new action plan aims to ban water-polluting paper mills, oil refineries, pesticide producers and other industrial plants by the end of 2016 in a bid to better protect China's scarce water supplies.

China has already blocked the approval of 163 state-level projects during the 12th five-year plan period (2011-2015), said Chen Jining, Minister for Environmental Protection.

But many companies ignore environmental impact assessments or find ways around environmental requirements, he said. Around 30 000 companies illegally constructed projects during the first half of the year, according to a nationwide MEP survey.

Enforcement of environmental rules has long been a problem in China, where state-owned enterprises routinely pay negligible fines instead of meeting regulations.

Local governments are often more focussed on growth and generating tax income than environmental protection, said Chen.

He called for a revision of environmental laws to increase the penalties for violations and strengthen the legal status of EIAs.

Wang said more efforts were needed to improve accountability for water pollution, such as research into turning water-related environmental quality into binding targets.

Beijing has said it will require outgoing cadres to be assessed according to the state of the natural resource assets under their management and it wants to make local governments take full responsibility for water quality, he added.

China would accelerate the introduction of emission permits and use of other economic instruments to incentivise water protection, said Wang.

Read more on:    china  |  pollution

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.