Laws and Policies

Draft floats more marine protection

Updated: Jun 28, 2023 By Hou Liqiang China Daily Print
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Revision seeks to ban discharge of radioactive wastewater into ocean

Chinese lawmakers are deliberating on a draft revision to the Marine Environment Protection Law with a new provision banning the discharge of radioactive wastewater, as part of efforts to intensify the management of pollutants that enter the ocean.

The draft was submitted to the ongoing session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, for a second reading on Monday. The first reading took place in December.

Radioactive liquid waste that contaminates the marine environment or damages marine ecology will be prohibited from being discharged into the sea, according to the draft revision.

In a move to enhance the management of sewage outlets in coastal areas, it stipulates that operators of these outlets should beef up environmental monitoring and fix automated monitoring facilities.

Marine waste governance is another major concern in the draft revision.

County-level governments and above in coastal regions should establish institutions for marine waste monitoring and cleaning work. Systems concerning the monitoring, interception, collection, transportation and disposal of marine waste should be established and implemented, it said.

It said they should take effective measures to encourage and support the public to participate in marine waste control.

The revision also introduces a target-oriented performance appraisal mechanism for local governments.

For those sea areas with unrealized environmental protection targets, there will be restrictions on the introduction of new projects.

Environmental authorities at and above provincial level will suspend examining and approving environmental impact assessment reports for projects planned in such areas, if they discharge pollutants related to the unrealized goals, it said.

Leading officials of both local governments and relevant departments will be admonished if environmental protection goals for sea areas under their jurisdiction are not accomplished, said Xin Chunying, an official from the NPC Constitution and Law Committee, while reporting the draft revision to the NPC Standing Committee on Monday.

"They will be asked to roll out effective measures to rectify (unmet protection goals)," she said, adding information about the admonishment and rectification will be made public.

The draft version states that different levels of government in coastal regions should allocate funds for compensation payments for marine conservation efforts.

Provincial-level governments, it said, should ramp up their supervision over sea areas encircled by red lines for ecological conservation by regularly evaluating the effectiveness of protection measures that have been taken.

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