China Drafts New Law To Fight Air Pollution

A building under construction is seen amidst smog on a polluted day in Shenyang

China is planing tougher pollution limits as well as heavier penalties in a revision of its air pollution law, as the government battles to reduce smog that takes hundreds of thousands of lives each year, state-run news agency Xinhua said. Reuters has more:

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress is this week considering a draft that would impose fines of up to 1 million yuan ($160,000) or even shut down factories that exceed emission limits, Xinhua reported late Monday.

China’s current law came into force in 1987, and despite a 2000 revision has not been updated to address the nation’s recent rapid economic growth, which has left major urban centers choked by smog.

Last month, a study by green group Natural Resources Defense Council said that pollution from the coal industry alone killed 670,000 people in China in 2012.

“Air pollution problems in certain regions have become prominent and smoggy days are often seen, all of which demonstrate that the existing law cannot fit in the current situation,” Environment Minister Zhou Shengxian said, according to Xinhua.

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