Chinese authorities have released a plan on intensifying the country's fight
against water pollution. As part of the plan, many small companies that fail to
meet modern pollution standards could be forced to close.
The Action Plan for Water Pollution Prevention and Control, released by the
State Council, underlines the crackdown on industrial pollution.
The document calls for the closure by the end of 2016 of small plants
including paper mills and oil refineries that fail to meet pollution control
Meanwhile, ten industry sectors including non-ferrous metals, pesticide
production, and printing will be put under special scrutiny as they adaptat to
clean production methods.
Authorities will issue warnings to companies that discharge excessive
pollutants and in some cases order operations to be suspended as improvements
If such companies still fail to meet discharge standards, they will be
required to close down.
Starting from 2016, the authorities will publish the names of companies that
have received warnings and those ordered to close down.
Chen Yongqing, an official with the Ministry of Environmental Protection,
says the rule will put the companies under public supervision.
"For different companies, we will use different ways to supervise. The rule
will encourage the companies to shoulder their social responsibilities. For
companies that breach the law, they need to pay a heavy price."
In terms of drinking water, the plan has stipulated a comprehensive
supervision process over water quality from source-to-tap.
It requires local governments to publish their supervision reports every
three months starting from 2016.
From 2018, governments at the county level and above need to disclose the
safety status of drinking water.
Wang Jinsheng, with the National Environmental Emergency Response Team, says
the change is significant.
"Previously, our supervision focused on the source of the water. Now the
supervision is about the whole process, from source-to-tap, it's a huge step
forward. To ensure the quality of the water that comes out of the tap, it is
important to ensure the safety of the pipeline system. This will take a huge
effort and manpower."
As for the overall target, the plan says over 70 percent of the water in
seven major rivers, including the Yangtze and Yellow rivers, should be in good
condition by 2020.
The same target is set for offshore areas.
The amount of severely polluted water underground should be limited to around
Pollution checks will be conducted every year and the results will be part of
performance reviews of provincial officials.