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25,000 Chinese enterprises have pollution liability insurance

A total of 25,000 Chinese enterprises have bought pollution liability insurance since 2007, when the country started promoting the insurance to better compensate pollution victims and boost companies’ environmental awareness, said the environmental watchdog.

In a Thursday statement, the Ministry of Environmental Protection publicized the latest round of nearly 5,000 enterprises with high pollution risk that are newly covered by the insurance. The businesses include the heavy metals, petroleum, dangerous chemicals, dangerous waste disposal, electricity, medicine, printing and dyeing industries.

Environmental pollution liability insurance helps enterprises with heavy risk to prevent pollution and ensure compensation for victims when they fail.

According to the statement, the amount of insurance coverage has topped 60 billion yuan (9.75 billion U.S. dollars) since 2007.

In September 2008, some 120 households in Zhuzhou City of central China’s Hunan Province received compensation from an insurance company after falling victim to leakage from a local insecticide factory that caused great damage to the environment.

In January, the ministry and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission jointly issued a guideline that made such insurance compulsory for enterprises in heavy metal businesses, while encouraging others with high pollution risk to join.

Thursday’s statement called for the “harshest” environmental compensation system, increasing financial costs to polluting companies so as to boost their environmental awareness.

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