'Strictest' air pollution laws introduced in Shanghai

Shanghai tomorrow (Oct 1) introduces “China’s strictest air protection law,” with maximum fines of 500,000 yuan (US$81,244) — five times the current level.

And this fine itself will be hiked on a daily basis if polluters don’t take action.

Company bosses will also face personal fines of up to 100,000 yuan under the law.

Violators face the “toughest fines” in the country’s history, Yu Feilin, law department director with the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau, warned yesterday.

Other measures available under the new law include suspending a business’s production or closing it down altogether, said the official.

Companies will also face fines based on the number of days they pollute the air, production limitations and power supplies being cut.

And officials deemed responsible may be handed over to police, Yu said.

Businesses will only be allowed to resume production once they meet the air quality standard, he said.

Previous air pollution legislation stipulated fines of up to 100,000 yuan, a sum far lower than the profits available through continuing polluting production, said Yu.

“An air quality testing facility costs up to a million yuan, while the fines were 10 percent of this cost,” said the official.

The new law increases fines to between 50,000 and 500,000 yuan and law enforcement officers will fine and punish culprits on-site, he added.

Enterprises that persist in polluting face having fines increased on a daily basis.

“If a company was fined 100,000 yuan but failed to meet standards a month after the deadline, it might face 3 million yuan in fines,” Yu said.

Equipment can also be confiscated and the bureau will release a blacklist of polluters.

While Shanghai introduced an air protection law in 2000, it has long lagged behind new challenges to the city’s air quality, Ding Wei, director with the legal commission of the Shanghai People’s Congress said earlier this year.

“We’d like to fine violators to bankruptcy, if necessary,” Ding said after the new law was passed in July.

Vehicle and factory emissions account for 50 per cent of the air pollution in Shanghai, according to previous reports.

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