Chinese lawmakers Friday began the second reading of a draft for the country’s first law on soil pollution, which increased the responsibilities of government and polluters in controlling and correcting pollution.
“To clarify responsibilities and ensure quality of rehabilitation, farmland polluters are required to make rehabilitation plans, put them on government record, and carry out the plans,” said a report to the top legislature’s bi-monthly session, scheduled to run from Friday to Wednesday.
Upon completion, polluters should entrust professional institutions to evaluate repair effects.
The draft made it clear that it was the local government’s responsibility to conduct pollution risk evaluation and rehabilitation of land if the land use right had been retrieved and the former owner was responsible for its pollution.
Environment protection departments of governments at or above the provincial level should summon leading officials at or above the municipal level for admonitory talks on problems in their jurisdiction, such as serious soil pollution, inadequate prevention and control measures, and strong public discontent over pollution.
The bill also proposed steppingg up protection of unused land such as desert, inter-tidal zones, saline-alkaline land and marshland.
“Local governments at or above the county level should enhance oversight and inspection on illegal discharge of poisonous and harmful materials into such areas,” said a provision added to the draft.
The draft law on prevention and control of soil pollution was submitted to the top legislature for its first reading in June.
China is escalating its national war against pollution, and the top legislature revised the law on air pollution in 2015 and the law on water pollution earlier this year, restricting various sources of pollution and making environmental data more transparent.
Currently, there is no dedicated law on soil pollution, but just a handful of provisions scattered across other laws. The draft law under deliberation is expected to address this legal void.