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Biggest pollution curbs enacted
2014-April-25 Source: China View website
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China's legislature Thursday passed the biggest changes to its environmental protection laws in 25 years, punishing polluters more severely as the government works to limit smog and tainted soil associated with three decades of economic growth.

Amendments to the law "sets environmental protection as the country's basic policy",the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The rules had not been changed since the law was first enacted in 1989, just as China began consuming more energy as it grew into a global manufacturing hub.

Now the world's biggest carbon emitter, China has moved to address the environmental damage that has been a byproduct of its breakneck economic growth and become a leading cause of social unrest. Government reports and recent comments from top officials about pollution have revealed the extent of the damage to China’s soil, water and air.

Almost 60 percent of the groundwater at 4,778 sites monitored across China has been found to be of poor or extremely poor quality, with excessive amount of pollutants, the Ministry of Land and Resources said April 22. A nine-year government survey found unacceptable levels of mercury, arsenic and other pollutants in 16 percent of 6.3 million square meters of land that were tested, the ministry said.

Beijing's air quality failed to meet government standards on 52 percent of the days last year, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said last month.

The amendments will become effective from Jan. 1, 2015, Xinhua reported. The revised law will also offer channels for whistle-blowers to make environment-related appeals.

Editor: 张莹
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