Heavy fine on air polluter

Updated: 2014-03-18 07:53

(China Daily USA)

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Last week, the Beijing environmental authorities issued the first fine to a company under the city's new Air Pollution Prevention and Control Regulation, which came into effect on March 1.

The company has to pay a 100,000 yuan ($16,000) fine, which will double if similar problems are found during the next inspection, and it must stop polluting within three days of being issued the notice.

The move signals the authorities' determination to improve the air quality and gain strengthened public trust, says a Beijing Times opinion piece.

Beijing's new air pollution measures are unprecedentedly tough. The new regulation has been described as "the strictest, most detailed environmental regulation in history", not just because of the high fines that can be imposed, the initial fine can be up to 500,000 yuan, but also because it allows factories to be shut down, even demolished if necessary.

Since the new regulation passed the legislative procedure, the public has voiced its support for the measures. However, doubts have also been expressed about how rigorously it will be enforced.

With the first enforcement of the new regulation the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau has not only sent a warning to polluters that the days when they could contaminate the air we breathe with impunity are gone, it has also given the public reason to believe that the new regulation will be effectively enforced.

The fact that the monitoring team launched inspections immediately after the new regulation came into effect should further consolidate public confidence in the new regulation. The inspections found a dozen enterprises had broken the regulation and they now await their penalties.

Hopefully, with more confidence the new regulation will be able to achieve its intentions, the public will be further encouraged to do their bit to help protect the environment.

That is a necessary virtuous circle because air pollution and environmental degradation have many sources and they will only be curbed with the efforts of all.

(China Daily USA 03/18/2014 page11)