China Halting Major Project Development In Areas Of High Pollution

World | Environmental Protection

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

As part of its bid to reduce dangerously high air pollution levels, authorities in China will be instituting a halt to “major project” development in areas of high pollution, the country’s official news service Xinhua has reported.

Accompanying this will be the rollout of a new pollution alert system, which will classify regions on a spectrum ranging from “green” (normal, non-alert zones) to “red” (severely high pollution levels).

As explained in the Xinhua coverage (citing a document put together by the country’s cabinet): “For red-alert areas, government authorities will stop granting approval on relevant projects. … (Meanwhile), enterprises causing severe environmental and resource destruction will face punishment, including fines, production restrictions and shutdowns.”

Reuters provides more: “Regions will also be categorized as ‘overloading,’ ‘near overloading,’ or ‘not overloading,’ depending on the level of strain on their environmental and resource capacity. … Xinhua added that owners of polluting firms or slack local officials would be held accountable for any environmental damage and could be prosecuted for criminal liability. ‘Green zone’ areas, however, could be financially rewarded.”

Interesting plans. Though, effective implementation remains a possible stumbling block to the achievement of pollution reductions. Corruption, of course, remains a problem in the country (as in Europe and the US as well).

It’s notable here that actions taken in recent years to reduce air pollution levels in certain parts of China have meant reduced revenues and profits for some large firms. Presumably, there’s going to be some pushback, of one kind or another, against these new plans.