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Beijing boosts air pollution penalties

2013-09-27 09:32 Global Times Web Editor: Li Yan

Lawmakers in Beijing have strengthened the city's efforts to fight air pollution, removing the limits for fines on repeat polluters and giving citizens the right to seek compensation for pollution damage.

New rules to increase the fines for polluters - to levels that would exceed the potential profits of polluting - have been added to the revised draft of the Beijing Air Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations, in a change which happened during the second review of the Standing Committee of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress on Wednesday, Wang Delin, vice chairman of the Legislative Affairs Committee of the city legislature was quoted as saying by the Beijing Daily.

The first draft, reviewed in July, set a limit of 1 million yuan ($ 163,400) for those who have violated the regulations more than twice.

The fine targets those using motor vehicles exceeding emissions limits, those who barbecue in prohibited areas, improper use of high-emission mobile heavy machinery, and those who fail to have their vehicles periodically checked for emissions.

The tougher control measures are significant as the emissions from vehicles are a prime contributor to air pollution in the capital with a very small contribution from the industry, Zhang Kai, a representative in charge of climate and energy issues at Greenpeace, told the Global Times Thursday.

In regard to the new rules about citizens seeking compensation for air pollution, the victims may find it difficult to prove the causal link between the pollution and the damage because the air has always been drifting around, said Zhang.

The Beijing municipal government outlined in early September its efforts to tackle air pollution on multiple fronts over the next four years.

The Beijing 2013-17 Clean Air Action Plan aims for a 25 percent reduction by 2017 in terms of the density of airborne particles measuring less than 2.5 microns in diameter, or PM2.5, that many blame for causing the city's heavy smog.

About 1 trillion yuan ($163 billion) will be invested in the next five years for the clean air efforts, the government said on Monday.

The central government on September 12 released a detailed action plan to combat air pollution that has been increasingly choking up cities across the country. Beijing toughened its pollution regulations after that.

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