The Government’s Water Protection Role to be Strengthened
Last Thursday, China’s top legislature began reviewing a draft amendment of the Water Pollution Prevention and Control Law to strengthen the Government’s role in preventing and tackling water pollution.
Among many things, the draft suggested to establish “river chief” systems at provincial, city, county, and township levels, meaning that local government officials would become responsible for addressing water pollution in the rivers and lakes within their region. According to the draft, the “river chiefs’ ” responsibilities would include water resource protection, waterline management, pollution prevention and control, and ecological restoration.
The usage of river chiefs is nothing new in China, it was first used in 2007 to deal with a blue algae outbreak in Taihu Lake, Jiangsu Province, and has since then been increasingly used to deal with local environmental issues.
The draft also included a notion of that city and county-level governments should disclose information on their water quality improvement plans and efforts to provide standard water quality to the public. The suggested amendments also include a proposed fine of up to 200,000 yuan for water suppliers who fail to provide the public with standard water quality.
Featured Image: Bert van Dijk, Climatico 2011: Is China on the Path to Equal Parts Environmental Protection and Economic Growth?