Lawmaker calls for pollution liability insurance law

Updated: 2013-03-07 16:16


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BEIJING - A Chinese lawmaker has urged the government to create laws enforcing a scheme that makes enterprises pay compensation in cases of polluting accidents.

Such environmental pollution liability insurance, serving as a safety net, will help enterprises that pose heavy risks to better prevent pollution and ensure compensation for victims when they fail, said Zuo Xuwen, director of the Hubei provincial Insurance Regulatory Bureau.

China is in urgent need of implementing the insurance in the face of intensifying pollution pressure recently, Zuo said on Thursday in Beijing on the sidelines of parliament's annual session.

Pilot environmental pollution liability insurance schemes have already had success in the provinces of Hunan, Hubei and Jiangsu, according to Zuo.

In September 2008, some 120 households in Zhuzhou City of central China's Hunan Province received compensation from an insurance company after falling victim to leakage from a local insecticide factory that caused great damage to the environment.

Zuo suggested that local legislation should be set up in accordance with each regional situation to encourage enterprises to participate in the insurance.

Zuo also called for the setting-up of pollution compensation funds when there is confusion in identifying polluters. This move would buffer victims from greater losses, and the fund would be entitled to the right of recourse for those eventually proved responsible, the official said.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission jointly issued a guideline in January to promote compulsory insurance pilots in heavy industries and other big-polluting enterprises.

The issue has sprung back in focus during a smoggy winter that has renewed widespread concern over China's environmental problems.

Air quality levels in Beijing and other northern cites have regularly been labelled as unhealthy or hazardous in recent weeks.