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Lawmakers call for revised Air Pollution Control law

2013-03-07 10:34     Web Editor: Mo Hong'e comment

China's lawmakers are calling for a revised Air Pollution Prevention and Control law amid a public outcry to curb air pollution.

Beijing and other parts of northern China have been battered by smog starting from the beginning of this year.

The capital was blanketed by smog for 26 days in January, while eastern China's Jiangsu Province saw 13 days of heavy pollution in February.

The recent spate of air pollution has prompted lawmakers to reconsider the current national law on air pollution control, which is more than 12 years old.

In 2010, the Ministry of Environmental Protection submitted a revised draft to the State Council, and the draft is still pending.

Wang Yi, the deputy director of the Institute of Policy and Management of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, says the current law needs to be updated.

"Ten years back, we didn't have so many cars running on the road. Now the pollutants are coming from various sources, not only from factories, but also from car emissions and dust. They also derived from different locations, not just from one place. So we can't tackle air pollution by using the old methods."

Data released earlier by the Beijing Municipal Environment Protection Bureau shows one-fourth of the air pollution in the capital was blown in from neighboring regions. The 2010 revised draft outlines a joint air pollution control plan for Beijing, Tianjin and neighboring Hebei Province.

Wang, who is also the deputy of the 12th National People's Congress, says a sustainable joint control system can only be backed up by law.

"During the Beijing Olympics, we used such a joint control system. But it was operated based on administrative means, such as ordering factories in neighboring cities to halt productions. Such measures are only temporary. In a long term, we need to come up with a legal mechanism to ensure a sustainable system."

Chang Jiwen, a researcher from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, participated in the 2010 revision.

Chang says previously the law focused on industrial pollution, but now the pressing task is to curb emissions resulting from urban development.

"We have already closed down a large number of factories in recent years. Now the focus is on how to bring down car exhaust and emissions from construction and coal burning. We need to adopt cleaner technologies to limit the emission from coal-fired boilers, and optimize transportation systems such as tightening fuel standards to cut automobile emissions."

The 12th Five-Year plan on air pollution control issued by the State Council says the PM 2.5 concentrations in regions including Beijing should be reduced by 6 percent in 2015.

The revised draft law is now under discussion at the National People's Congress.

Read more:

Special report: Exploring the 2013 NPC & CPPCC sessions

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