Draft amendment boosts govt role in water protection

Draft amendment boosts govt role in water protection.
BEIJING – China’s top legislature on Thursday began reviewing a draft amendment to better prevent water pollution by strengthening government responsibility and supervision.
The draft amendment to the Water Pollution Prevention and Control Law was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) for second reading at the start of its bi-monthly session.
The draft suggested that the "river chief" system should be promoted to provincial, city, county and township levels, with leading officials assuming major responsibility in addressing water pollution.
Drinking water suppliers who failed to provide standard water to the public will be fined up to 200,000 yuan (about US$32,000), according to the draft.
Three years after China declared war on pollution, lawmakers began reviewing a draft legislation for the country’s first soil pollution prevention and control law on Thursday to head off rising public concerns over environmental costs of decades of rapid growth.
It is China’s latest attempt to curb worsening soil pollution and rehabilitate the country’s vast swathes of contaminated land.
Explaining the draft to lawmakers at the start of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee’s bi-monthly session, Luo Qingquan, deputy head of the NPC’s Environment and Resources Protection Committee, said China is facing a "grim situation" in terms of its soil conditions.
Soil pollution has become an imminent environmental challenge that needs to be addressed and an outstanding obstacle in the country’s quest to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects, he said.
By putting in place the "strictest environmental protection system," the new law will help improve soil quality, ensure safe agricultural products and public health, safeguard sustainability in the utilization of soil resources, and protect and improve the environment, he said.

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