B. China

B. China (1) Background In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the important cooperation initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Twenty-first Century Maritime Silk Road. To date, steady progress and fruitful results have been achieved in the implementation of the initiative. The international community has welcomed the initiative and its positive impact. China hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on 14–15 May 2017. The Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Development and Reform Commission, and the Ministry of Commerce jointly issued the Guidance on Promoting Green Belt and Road in order to further boost green development along the Belt and Road. Guided by ecological civilization and green development concepts, the green Belt and Road Initiative follows the principle of being resource efficient and environment friendly, embeds the concept of green into the efforts in policy coordination, and facilitates connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people bonds (the Five Goals). It incorporates eco-environment protection into all aspects and the whole process of building the Belt and Road. In the face of complicated and volatile international situations and the arduous tasks of reform, development, and stability, following the general guideline of making progress while ensuring stability, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council of China united with, and led, the people of all nationalities in adapting to the new normal and pushed forward sustainable, stable, economic, and social development. Local governments and departments firmly implemented the decisions and deployments of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, and with reform and innovation as the driving force and problem solving as orientation, achieved positive progress in environmental protection. (2) Legislation and Regulation since 2013 The Plan for Prevention and Control of Water Pollution in Key Basins (2011–15) was implemented at a fast rate. The national survey on basic environmental conditions of groundwater proceeded, the restoration of contaminated groundwater was initiated in key regions, and the Work Programme on Prevention and Control of Groundwater Pollution in North China Plain was put in place. The policy measure of ‘offering financial rewards as incentives to promote pollution control’ was carried forward, and the Central Government appropriated 6 billion yuan of special funds to support integrated rural environment management. Pilot projects were conducted in regard to the province-wide, intensive, and integrated rural environment management in selected localities of Jiangsu and Ningxia. The cumulative input of local areas in addressing pollution by scaled livestock and poultry breeding farms amounted to over 4 billion yuan. There were increased efforts in tackling pollution of heavy metals, solid wastes, and chemicals. A special fund equivalent to 3.4 billion yuan was secured to help address the contamination caused by heavy metals in key regions. Endeavours to facilitate the tackling of pollution by heavy metals in soils at national farm produce bases were accelerated, and nine demonstration sites were designated in an effort to remediate contaminated soils. Over 0.3 million tonnes of chromium residues generated this year were disposed of, so it was possible to utilize or dispose of all of the chromium residues generated within the year. More than 6.7 million tonnes of chromium residues generated half a century ago and left untreated throughout the country were also disposed of. Policies were improved with respect to the funds established for processing waste electric appliances and electronic products, with the subsidies allocated this year equivalent to 629 million yuan. More than 40 million sets of waste electric appliances and electronic products that fall into five categories were disposed of. The twelfth Five-Year Plan for Prevention and Control of Environmental Risks of Chemicals was promulgated and enforced. (A) Legislation The amendment of the Environmental Protection Law has made active progress since 2013. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress conducted its second review in June and its third review in October on the Environmental Protection Law (draft amendment). With more intact and sound legal structure, the law has made key progress in basic ideas, evident progress in specific systems and supervision measures, and important breakthroughs in cracking down violations. The government has released the Regulations on Prevention and Control of the Pollution from Scaled Livestock and Fowl Farms with forty-four articles in six chapters, such as general provisions, prevention, comprehensive use and control, incentive measures, legal responsibility, and supplementary provisions. It will play an important role in preventing and controlling pollution from breeding of livestock and fowl; facilitating the comprehensive use and environmentally friendly disposal of the waste from the breeding of livestock and fowl; and protecting and improving the environment and facilitating the continuous and healthy development of animal husbandry. The relevant authority has actively conducted judicial explanations for environmental pollution criminal cases. The Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on Several Issues Concerning the Application of Law in the Handling of Criminal Cases of Environmental Pollution has been released. It has played an important role in unifying the criteria for condemnation and punishment of environmental pollution crime and made many efforts in cracking down on environmental pollution crimes. On 24 April 2014, the Environmental Protection Law was reviewed and adopted by the eighth Meeting of the Standing Committee of the twelfth National People’s Congress (NPC). The same day, President Xi Jinping signed Presidential Decree no. 9, officially announcing that the law would take effect on 1 January 2015. The amended law sets out the basic principles and systems of ecological and environmental protection through seventy articles in seven chapters. As a fundamental, comprehensive law in the field of environment, the new law, deemed to be the most stringent one so far in China, has made breakthroughs and innovation in the basic ideas of government responsibility, cost of violation of law, and public participation. The newly revised law for environmental protection demonstrates three distinct characteristics. First is the relevance to reality. The law provides a number of measures to address such outstanding problems as inappropriate law enforcement, failure to fulfil government responsibility, and low costs of corporate violation of law. These measures embody the requirements of source control, strict process management, and severe punishment based on consequences. The law demonstrates, in response to the public’s expectation for blue sky, the indomitable will and firm determination of the party and the state to strengthen environmental protection towards ecological civilization. Second is a view to the future. The amended law provides strong forward-looking and long-term guidance, aimed at the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the goal of two 100-year goals. It proposes a number of new ideas and guidelines and stipulates a number of new mechanisms and management measures according to the deployments of the eighteenth National Congress of the CPC and of the third plenary session of the eighteenth CPC Central Committee on deepening the reform of the ecological civilization system. This will help to remove resource and environment constraints facing the development of the country. Third is the balance of rights and obligations. The amended law not only specifies the basic responsibilities, rights, and obligations of individual citizens, enterprises, social organizations, governments, and environmental protection departments but also provides the safeguards, restraints and punishment measures, so that the parties can become actively involved, attend to their duties, and fulfil their responsibilities. Moreover, breakthroughs and innovation are observed in ideas, systems, and safeguard measures. In terms of innovative ideas, ‘to push ahead the ecological progress and promote sustainable economic and social development’ has been included in the legislative purpose. The law puts forward the basic principles of promoting harmony between man and nature and prioritizing conservation and explicitly requires the coordination of economic and social development with environmental protection. In terms of institutional improvement, the law requires the establishment of monitoring and early warning mechanisms for resource and environment-carrying capacity and the implementation of a responsibility system and evaluation system for environmental targets. Economic policies shall give full consideration to the impact on the environment. Mechanisms for trans-regional, joint prevention and control, and public monitoring and early warning of environmental pollution shall be put into place. Systems for ecological red-lining, environmental and health risk assessment, and total quantity control and pollution permits shall be set up. Making use of market-based instruments and economic policies, the law also clearly stipulates the mechanisms for finance, taxation, pricing, ecological compensation, environmental tax, environmental pollution liability insurance, and incentives for the exit of heavily polluting enterprises, as well as environmental credit system of business operators. In terms of co-governance, while strengthening the environmental responsibility of government, the law dedicates chapters to information disclosure and public participation, which give citizens access to environmental information, participation, and supervision. The range of social organizations that can access environmental public interest litigation is outlined. The environmental responsibilities of the people’s courts and departments and organs for finance, education, agriculture, public security, supervision, and appointment and removal are clearly provided. In addition, the law, for the first time, defines the legal status of ‘environmental monitoring agencies’ and grants the environmental protection departments new regulatory powers. The amended law has laid the foundation for environmental protection in the new era. It is of high significance for protecting and improving the environment, safeguarding public health, promoting ecological civilization, and boosting sustainable economic and social development. After being reviewed three times in eight months, the newly revised Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution (the Air Pollution Control Law) was approved on 29 August 2015 by the sixteenth session of the Standing Committee of the twelfth NPC and came into effect on 1 January 2016. The Air Pollution Control Law is the first single law to be amended after the adoption of the new environmental law. Mainly applying to the grim situation of the current atmospheric environmental pollution, some changes have been made according to the spirit of the central authorities to speed up the construction of ecological civilization to be reflected in: writing the assessment mechanism into the new law, strengthening local government responsibility; emphasizing the source of governance, reversing the mode of economic development; seizing the main contradictions and solving outstanding problems; increasing penalties; and ensuring the law puts down deep roots. On 1 September 2016, the newly revised Environmental Impact Assessment Law was formally implemented, with five chapters and thirty-seven articles. The new Environmental Impact Assessment Law not only clearly defines the planning of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) but also introduces three major changes. First, the expert review link of planning environmental impact assessment has been added. The Municipal People’s Government shall, before approving the draft plan, make a decision by the environmental protection administrative department or other department designated by the people’s government or other departments to form a review team to review the environmental impact report, with a written review by the review team. The review opinions proposed by the group, the special planning of the compiling authority, should be adopted and modified, while the non-adopted ones reasons should be explained. Second, the planning of the EIA Law has been considered as an important basis for EIAs on construction projects. The plan, which has finished EIA containing the specific construction projects, the conclusions of planning environmental assessment should be used as an important basis for construction project EIA and the content of construction project EIA, should be simplified based on the planning environmental assessment review. The third change is to strengthen the legal responsibility EIA. If the planning authority for the organization of EIA, or the organization for EIA fraud or misconduct, results in an EIA that is seriously inaccurate, the directly responsible persons in charge and other directly responsible persons shall be given administrative sanctions by the higher authority or a supervisory authority. In accordance with the fact that that the eighteenth National Congress of the CPC has made a significant deployment of ‘accelerating the construction of ecological civilization’ and ‘building a strong marine power,’ marine ecological environmental protection plays a vital role in national ocean management and people’s livelihoods. On 7 November, the twenty-fourth meeting of the Standing Committee of the twelfth NPC adopted the Decision on Amending the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of the Marine Environment. The amendment is mainly focused on three aspects: first, the implementation of the new requirements of the eighteenth National Congress of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on marine ecological and environmental protection; second, the convergence with the newly revised Environmental Protection Law and other laws, strengthening legal responsibility, and increasing the intensity of illegal punishment; and, third, to carry out the administrative examination and approval of ‘put the package’ reform, the abolition of some administrative examination, and approval matters. Based on the above ideas, this revision mainly has three goals. First, it identifies the ecological protection of the red line and marine ecological compensation system as the basic system of marine environmental protection, which reflects the concept of marine ecological and environmental protection from pollution prevention and control into ecological protection, with the formation of beneficiaries to pay and the protection of workers to get a reasonable compensation mechanism. Second, it clearly defines the status and role of marine area planning for the first time in legal form. Through the implementation of the planning of the marine main function area, it is necessary to guide the ocean development activities to adapt to the carrying capacity of resources and environment. Third, it increases the punishment of marine ecological environment pollution violations. There is no upper limit on the punishment of environmental violations, which embodies the central spirit of protecting the ecological environment with a strict system. (B) Regulations The prevention and control of atmospheric pollution has been highlighted. The State Council printed and circulated the Action Plan on Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution, which came up with thirty-five comprehensive control measures in ten articles in 2013. The annual tasks of reducing main pollutants have been accomplished in all respects. The responsibility appraisal mechanism was employed, and environmental review of new projects was halted in three provinces (autonomous region), three corporate groups, and six cities because they had failed the 2012 annual performance evaluation with regard to pollution reduction or had not carried out the key projects specified in their target responsibility documents. Forty-three companies were put on a watch list and ordered to make improvements within a limited period of time. The construction of pollution reduction projects was accelerated, with de-nitrogen oxide facilities available to additional 205 million kilowatts thermal power generating units, and de-sulphur dioxide facilities expanded and upgraded for 34 million kilowatts such units. The economic policies in regard to pollution reduction have been improved. The de-nitrogen oxide electricity price was raised from 0.8 cents per kilowatt hour to 1 cent per kilowatt hour, and the de-dust electricity price was set at 0.2 cents per kilowatt hour. The total loads of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, and ammonia nitrogen went down 3.5 percent, 4.7 percent, 2.9 percent, and 3.1 percent respectively year on year. In 2014, a new step forward was made in the prevention and control of air, water, and soil pollution. The Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Air Pollution was put into practice. First, pollution control in key industries was intensified. Air pollution governance programs were printed and issued for key industries in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (BTH) region, the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta, and surrounding areas. The Action Plan to Upgrade the Quality of Refined Oil for Air Pollution Prevention and Control, the Program for the Comprehensive Management of Volatile Organic Compounds in the Petrochemical Industry, and the action program to promote oil and gas recovery technologies in piers were rolled out. This year, the outdated and excess production capacity was eliminated, involving 31.1 million tons of steel, 81 million tons of cement, and 37.6 million weight boxes of plate glass. More than 6 million yellow-label vehicles and old and used cars and 55,000 small coal-red boilers were removed. Second, regional cooperation was enhanced. The task of air quality assurance during the Beijing Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit and the second Summer Youth Olympic Games was satisfactorily completed. In particular, the ‘APEC Blue’ was staged with excellent air quality on four days and good air quality on seven days, and the average concentration of pollutants fell to the five-year lowest levels. Third, the regulation of atmospheric environmental law enforcement was tightened. By high-tech means of satellite and unmanned aerial vehicles, environmental protection departments carried out special inspections monthly through joint enforcement, cross-department enforcement, and regional enforcement, and the results were communicated to local governments and to the public. Fourth, the monitoring and early warning system was improved. The 1,436 monitoring sites in 338 cities at or above the prefecture level are all capable of monitoring according to the new ambient air quality standards. Regional air quality forecasting and early warning platforms have been basically built in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei region, the Yangtze River Delta, and the Pearl River Delta. Fifth, supporting policies were introduced at a quicker pace. The State Council printed and distributed the Performance Assessment Measures for the Action Plan for Air Pollution Prevention and Control (Trial). There is an urgent requirement for environmental protection departments to carry out law-based administration. The resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Certain Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Advancing the Law-Based Governance of China indicates that we should uphold strict, normative, impartial, and civilized law enforcement, punish various types of violations in accordance with the law, intensify law enforcement in key areas involving people’s immediate interests, improve the procedures for law enforcement, define the specific operating processes, and focus on standardizing law enforcement activities including administrative compulsion. The very life and authority of the law lies in its implementation: ‘It is never difficult to legislate, but it is difficult to enforce the legislation.’ To comprehensively advance the law-based governance of China, we should put emphasis on ensuring the strict enforcement of the laws. Such measures as continuous daily fines, seizure of property, restricted production, and production suspension for rectification are very effective as they can easily infringe on, or cause unnecessary damage to, the concerned person’s rights and interests. To establish and improve legislation and to strengthen standardization and supervision of the actual implementation of the measures are therefore of great significance in protecting the legitimate rights and interests of the concerned person(s). They are also inevitable requirements for promoting the law-based governance of China. In addition, there is an urgent requirement for taking strong measures to crack down on environmental violations. With the development of the economy and society, as well as increased awareness of environmental protection, environmental departments at all levels are facing increasing pressures on supervision. In regard to those serious environmental violations, including prolonged malicious activities, repeat offenders, excessive discharge of pollutants, and pollutant discharges above the permitted limit, with only administrative law enforcement methods such as administrative penalties, environmental departments have been unable to urge offenders to effectively rectify. It is therefore necessary to adopt stronger measures to substantially increase the severity of the punishment. Continuous daily fines, seizure and detainment of property, restricted production, and suspension for rectification are powerful measures, the combination of which can effectively crack down on environmental violations, enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement, and escalate environmental supervision. Also, there is an urgent requirement for strengthening the polluter’s obligation as the main party responsible for environmental protection. The newly revised Environmental Protection Law establishes the principle of ‘accountability for damages,’ stipulating that enterprises, public institutions, and other manufacturers/business operators shall prevent and reduce environmental pollution and ecological destruction and shall be liable for the resulting damages in accordance with the law. As the direct main party responsible for protecting the environment, the polluter is under the obligation to correct the illegal discharge of pollutants and solve existing environmental problems, and he or she has the duty to provide environmental information, including the pollution treatment process and results, to the public. However, we have found in our law enforcement practices that some polluters turn over the responsibility for pollution remediation to the environmental protection departments, relying on them to provide remediation plans and conducting the inspections and environmental verifications. Without self-awareness of responsibility, these polluters are too lazy to fulfil their obligations and negatively wait for instructions from environmental departments. These four measures will thus further strengthen the polluter’s obligation as the main party responsible for environmental protection, specify each obligation imposed, and emphasize the timeliness of correcting violations and the initiative of implementing rectification measures. The main characteristics of these supplementary measures are as follows: first, they combine severe punishment on illegally discharging pollutants with safeguarding the legitimate rights of the administrative counterpart. The refinement of the applicable circumstances and the design of the implementation procedures clarified in these four supplementary measures all pursue the idea of increasing punishment. Polluters are not allowed to illegally discharge a pollutant for a single day, and once they break the law, they will be made to pay a penalty. For some severe acts of illegal pollution, financial penalties such as daily fines can be applied together with punishments of behaviour, including seizure and restraint, restricted production, and suspended production, as well as personal punishments such as administrative detention. According to the design of the daily fine system, rather than ‘making corrections within a time limit,’ polluters are ordered to stop discharging pollutants immediately, leaving no time for them to ‘legally’ discharge pollutants within the deadline. The re-examination of the correction should be secretly conducted within thirty days, so as to monitor the actual discharge of pollutants, deter the polluters from counting on luck and making the corrections only superficially, and push them to carry out genuine rectification and meet the requirements for legal discharges. Daily fines are not limited by the number of times they are given. Administrative penalties will not stop until the illegal discharges are gone. Meanwhile, considering that punishment measures such as daily fines, seizure and restraint, restricted production, and suspended production have bearing on the vital interests of the polluters, law enforcement departments are very cautious and strict with the design of the internal procedure for environmental protection departments, with a view to fully taking the legitimate rights of the administrative counterpart into account. For instance, prior to making the decision on seizure and restraint, restricted production, and suspended production for rectification, the environmental protection department should submit a written report to the person in charge of the competent environmental protection department for approval. Penalties for major cases or cases with serious social impact should be decided by the collective deliberation of the case review committee of the competent environmental protection department. In addition, polluters should be informed about the relevant facts, basis, and their legal rights in order to defend themselves and to request a hearing. Second, the supplementary measures have been developed in strict accordance with the law with the actual situation of environmental enforcement and a focus on practicality. The enactment of these four supplementary measures is strictly in compliance with the legal provisions of the Environmental Protection Law, the Administrative Penalty Law, the Administrative Compulsion Law, and so on, and they implement the spirit of the Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Certain Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Advancing the Law-Based Governance of China to promote administration by law. In addition, these measures fully consider the actual need for environmental enforcement and innovate some provisions with environmental protection features. For example, as most objects of law enforcement are immobile, large facilities and equipment, in accordance with the Measures of the Competent Environmental Protection Department on Seizure and Detainment of Property (Measures on Seizure and Detainment), immobile facilities and equipment or facilities and equipment with special storage requirements should be sequestrated on site. Seals may be posted on key components including control devices of the facilities and equipment or switching valves of water, electricity, and gas leading to pollutant discharges. Pollution control facilities are not treated as facilities or equipment causing pollutant emission. Considering that it is very difficult for grassroots law enforcement officials to identify such abstract behaviour and concepts as ‘illegal pollutant discharge,’ ‘causing or maybe causing serious pollution,’ and ‘major pollutant-discharging entity,’ these four measures explicitly enumerate applicable circumstances for daily fines, seizure and restraint, and restricted production and suspended production for rectification, and clearly define major pollutant-discharging entities for the officers to master and practice. Third, they combine strict legal enforcement in accordance with the strengthening of corporate self-discipline. After the new Environmental Protection Law was introduced, environmental departments, especially grassroots law enforcement staff, generally felt an enormous pressure and great deal of responsibility. After the new law came into effect, they faced dual pressures in the performance of duties and accountability. To better serve and guide these enforcement officers to do a good job in implementing the new environmental law, these four supplementary measures define the statutory duties and responsibility boundaries of environmental protection departments and highlight that the polluter is the direct major party responsible for environmental protection. For example, the most prominent features of the Measures on Daily Fines and the Measures of the Competent Environmental Protection Department on Restricted Production and Production Suspension for Rectification (Measures on Restricted Production) are, based on the legislative spirit of the new Environmental Protection Law, that the polluter being the major party responsible for stopping illegal pollutant discharge and conducting rectification, polluter’s self-discipline being the foundation of implementing the ordered correction, restricted production and suspended production for rectification, and the polluter being responsible for its environmental behaviour and damages. Once a polluter is ordered to limit production or suspend operation, it must file a rectification plan, conduct self-monitoring of the rectification process, and bear the responsibility for rectification. The release of the restrictions further strengthens the polluter’s responsibilities as the main party for environmental protection. The removal of the decisions on restricted production and suspended production for rectification no longer relies on environmental protection department’s verification and acceptance procedures—rather, it depends on the polluter itself. The polluter’s enthusiasm and initiative for rectification can therefore be greatly mobilized. The polluter is required to take full responsibility for the results of the rectification; his or her self-discipline will thus be strengthened. Fourth, they combine the ‘zero tolerance’ to illegal pollutant discharge in accordance with the protection of the public interest. While preserving environmental legal authority, environmental departments exercise administrative law enforcement to safeguard the public interest and social orders. The Measures on Seizure and Detainment and the Measures on Restricted Production specifically stipulate that, in line with relevant environmental laws and regulations, the competent environmental department should punish and may not implement seizure and restraint of properties or suspension for rectification to public facility operators in such fields as urban sewage treatment, garbage disposal, and hazardous waste disposal—polluters whose operations involve people’s livelihoods and public interest or polluters whose production safety may be affected once sequestration or suspension for rectification is imposed. This provision follows the administrative principle of proportionality that is ‘the lesser of two evils,’ and reflects the legislative idea of careful implementation of sequestration and suspended operation for rectification. The Measures on Sharing Environmental Information by Enterprises and Public Institutions identify the main parties and contents of information disclosure by firmly focusing on the ‘doorstep’ environmental issues attracting public attention and concern. By disclosing information in ways that are easy for the public to access, these measures fully embody the principle of convenience for people, satisfy the public’s right to know, and facilitate public participation in environmental management and supervision on enterprises for lawful discharge of pollutants. Fifth, they serve to increase punishment in accordance with the disclosure of information. The new Environmental Protection Law adds a special chapter on information disclosure and public participation. With the general principle of sharing environmental information running throughout, the four supplementary measures uphold the legislative intent. To adopt the three approaches on daily fines, seizure and detainment of property, and restricted and suspended operation, environmental protection departments are explicitly required to publish the decision to issue a rectification order and impose an administrative penalty, related information on the decision for sequestration, the extension and release of sequestration, and relevant information of the decision of restricted operation and suspended operation for rectification, the extension of restricted operation, and the date for the release of restricted operation or suspension for rectification. Also, the Measures on Restricted Production require the polluters to publicly disclose their rectification plan and related information. These regulations and requirements will facilitate public participation and supervision, thereby forming a management model of ‘government regulation, corporate self-discipline and public supervision’ and amplifying the effects of environmental law enforcement. The Measures on Sharing Environmental Information by Enterprises and Public Institutions are themselves rules and regulations to standardize enterprises’ information disclosure. Environmental departments should guide and supervise enterprises to disclose information and give full play to the supervisory role of the public on pollutant discharge behaviour. (3) Interpretations of National Inventory of Hazardous Wastes (2016) The MEP, together with the National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Public Security, recently promulgated the National Inventory of Hazardous Wastes (2016) (the Inventory), which was to be enforced as of 1 August 2016. There are several main changes made to the previous version (2008), as outlined below. (A) Amendments to the Preface The main changes made to the preface based on the 2008 version include: first, the preface of the latest version describes how to manage medical wastes; second, it has amended the explanations for the determination of the properties of hazardous wastes that are combined with other solid wastes, as well as of the wastes from treated hazardous wastes; third, it adds explanations for the exempted hazardous wastes and how to classify hazardous wastes once they are identified as hazardous. (B) Changes in the Varieties of Hazardous Wastes The 2008 version classified hazardous wastes into 400 varieties under forty-nine categories, whereas this version reclassifies them into 479 varieties under forty-six categories (including 362 varieties from the previous version and 117 new additions). Specifically, the HW06 organic solvent wastes, HW41 waste halogenated organic solvents, and HW42 waste organic solvents in the previous version are combined as HW06 waste organic solvents and wastes containing organic solvents; HW43 wastes containing polychlorinated benzo-furan and HW44 wastes containing polychlorinated benzo-dioxin are removed; and HW50 waste catalysts are added to the latest version. (C) Addition of an Exemption List The exemption of hazardous wastes from management may reduce the overall environmental risks in the course of management and raise the management efficiency. Based on studies on ongoing environmental standards and the environmental risks of certain hazardous wastes, this version adds an exemption list containing sixteen varieties/categories of hazardous wastes that will be exempted from management as hazardous waste at specified stages, under relevant conditions, and in accordance with related descriptions. (D) Removing the Asterisk Label from the 2008 Version In the previous version, some hazardous wastes were marked with an asterisk because they had come from a variety of sources, there were possible exceptions to their hazardous properties, and there were specific national standards for their identification. If the generators of the hazardous wastes so marked have satisfactory evidence proving that such wastes do not have any hazardous property, the said wastes may not be treated as hazardous wastes. There are thirty-three varieties of such hazardous wastes. However, this has led to great discrepancy among different regions in the requirements for the management of certain solid wastes. Also, it does not comply with relevant provisions of the Law on Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Wastes that ‘hazardous wastes refer to the solid wastes that are listed in the National Inventory of Solid Wastes or the solid wastes that are determined in accordance with the national standards and methods on identification of hazardous wastes as possessing any hazardous property.’ (E) Substituting the List of Waste Hazardous Chemicals with the Inventory of Hazardous Chemicals Appendix A to the 2008 version lists 498 varieties of waste hazardous chemicals under priority management, but they cover only toxic chemicals, excluding chemicals with other hazardous properties. In the new version, all hazardous chemicals with any hazardous property are listed, in accordance with the descriptions on the hazardous properties in the identification standards for hazardous wastes. As the Inventory of Hazardous Chemicals released by ten state departments, including State Administration of Work Safety, involves all of the hazardous properties, it becomes part of the new version. Main principles such as highlighting the priorities and updating based on practicability and continuity are followed in updating the inventory. The updating is problem oriented and aims at the delicate management of hazardous wastes. The hazardous wastes vary greatly in category, in properties, and in pollution characteristics, so it is impossible to effectively control their pollution without some singular management approach. The management of hazardous wastes should be based on the principle of environmental risk control, by adopting whole process control and a category-specific management approach to prevent and control their hazards on the environment and on public health. An exemption list has been added to this version, which, as an important part of subsequent updating, will gradually advance the delicate management of hazardous wastes. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Yearbook of International Environmental Law Oxford University Press

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Abstract

(1) Background In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping launched the important cooperation initiative of building the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Twenty-first Century Maritime Silk Road. To date, steady progress and fruitful results have been achieved in the implementation of the initiative. The international community has welcomed the initiative and its positive impact. China hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on 14–15 May 2017. The Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Development and Reform Commission, and the Ministry of Commerce jointly issued the Guidance on Promoting Green Belt and Road in order to further boost green development along the Belt and Road. Guided by ecological civilization and green development concepts, the green Belt and Road Initiative follows the principle of being resource efficient and environment friendly, embeds the concept of green into the efforts in policy coordination, and facilitates connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people bonds (the Five Goals). It incorporates eco-environment protection into all aspects and the whole process of building the Belt and Road. In the face of complicated and volatile international situations and the arduous tasks of reform, development, and stability, following the general guideline of making progress while ensuring stability, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council of China united with, and led, the people of all nationalities in adapting to the new normal and pushed forward sustainable, stable, economic, and social development. Local governments and departments firmly implemented the decisions and deployments of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, and with reform and innovation as the driving force and problem solving as orientation, achieved positive progress in environmental protection. (2) Legislation and Regulation since 2013 The Plan for Prevention and Control of Water Pollution in Key Basins (2011–15) was implemented at a fast rate. The national survey on basic environmental conditions of groundwater proceeded, the restoration of contaminated groundwater was initiated in key regions, and the Work Programme on Prevention and Control of Groundwater Pollution in North China Plain was put in place. The policy measure of ‘offering financial rewards as incentives to promote pollution control’ was carried forward, and the Central Government appropriated 6 billion yuan of special funds to support integrated rural environment management. Pilot projects were conducted in regard to the province-wide, intensive, and integrated rural environment management in selected localities of Jiangsu and Ningxia. The cumulative input of local areas in addressing pollution by scaled livestock and poultry breeding farms amounted to over 4 billion yuan. There were increased efforts in tackling pollution of heavy metals, solid wastes, and chemicals. A special fund equivalent to 3.4 billion yuan was secured to help address the contamination caused by heavy metals in key regions. Endeavours to facilitate the tackling of pollution by heavy metals in soils at national farm produce bases were accelerated, and nine demonstration sites were designated in an effort to remediate contaminated soils. Over 0.3 million tonnes of chromium residues generated this year were disposed of, so it was possible to utilize or dispose of all of the chromium residues generated within the year. More than 6.7 million tonnes of chromium residues generated half a century ago and left untreated throughout the country were also disposed of. Policies were improved with respect to the funds established for processing waste electric appliances and electronic products, with the subsidies allocated this year equivalent to 629 million yuan. More than 40 million sets of waste electric appliances and electronic products that fall into five categories were disposed of. The twelfth Five-Year Plan for Prevention and Control of Environmental Risks of Chemicals was promulgated and enforced. (A) Legislation The amendment of the Environmental Protection Law has made active progress since 2013. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress conducted its second review in June and its third review in October on the Environmental Protection Law (draft amendment). With more intact and sound legal structure, the law has made key progress in basic ideas, evident progress in specific systems and supervision measures, and important breakthroughs in cracking down violations. The government has released the Regulations on Prevention and Control of the Pollution from Scaled Livestock and Fowl Farms with forty-four articles in six chapters, such as general provisions, prevention, comprehensive use and control, incentive measures, legal responsibility, and supplementary provisions. It will play an important role in preventing and controlling pollution from breeding of livestock and fowl; facilitating the comprehensive use and environmentally friendly disposal of the waste from the breeding of livestock and fowl; and protecting and improving the environment and facilitating the continuous and healthy development of animal husbandry. The relevant authority has actively conducted judicial explanations for environmental pollution criminal cases. The Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on Several Issues Concerning the Application of Law in the Handling of Criminal Cases of Environmental Pollution has been released. It has played an important role in unifying the criteria for condemnation and punishment of environmental pollution crime and made many efforts in cracking down on environmental pollution crimes. On 24 April 2014, the Environmental Protection Law was reviewed and adopted by the eighth Meeting of the Standing Committee of the twelfth National People’s Congress (NPC). The same day, President Xi Jinping signed Presidential Decree no. 9, officially announcing that the law would take effect on 1 January 2015. The amended law sets out the basic principles and systems of ecological and environmental protection through seventy articles in seven chapters. As a fundamental, comprehensive law in the field of environment, the new law, deemed to be the most stringent one so far in China, has made breakthroughs and innovation in the basic ideas of government responsibility, cost of violation of law, and public participation. The newly revised law for environmental protection demonstrates three distinct characteristics. First is the relevance to reality. The law provides a number of measures to address such outstanding problems as inappropriate law enforcement, failure to fulfil government responsibility, and low costs of corporate violation of law. These measures embody the requirements of source control, strict process management, and severe punishment based on consequences. The law demonstrates, in response to the public’s expectation for blue sky, the indomitable will and firm determination of the party and the state to strengthen environmental protection towards ecological civilization. Second is a view to the future. The amended law provides strong forward-looking and long-term guidance, aimed at the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the goal of two 100-year goals. It proposes a number of new ideas and guidelines and stipulates a number of new mechanisms and management measures according to the deployments of the eighteenth National Congress of the CPC and of the third plenary session of the eighteenth CPC Central Committee on deepening the reform of the ecological civilization system. This will help to remove resource and environment constraints facing the development of the country. Third is the balance of rights and obligations. The amended law not only specifies the basic responsibilities, rights, and obligations of individual citizens, enterprises, social organizations, governments, and environmental protection departments but also provides the safeguards, restraints and punishment measures, so that the parties can become actively involved, attend to their duties, and fulfil their responsibilities. Moreover, breakthroughs and innovation are observed in ideas, systems, and safeguard measures. In terms of innovative ideas, ‘to push ahead the ecological progress and promote sustainable economic and social development’ has been included in the legislative purpose. The law puts forward the basic principles of promoting harmony between man and nature and prioritizing conservation and explicitly requires the coordination of economic and social development with environmental protection. In terms of institutional improvement, the law requires the establishment of monitoring and early warning mechanisms for resource and environment-carrying capacity and the implementation of a responsibility system and evaluation system for environmental targets. Economic policies shall give full consideration to the impact on the environment. Mechanisms for trans-regional, joint prevention and control, and public monitoring and early warning of environmental pollution shall be put into place. Systems for ecological red-lining, environmental and health risk assessment, and total quantity control and pollution permits shall be set up. Making use of market-based instruments and economic policies, the law also clearly stipulates the mechanisms for finance, taxation, pricing, ecological compensation, environmental tax, environmental pollution liability insurance, and incentives for the exit of heavily polluting enterprises, as well as environmental credit system of business operators. In terms of co-governance, while strengthening the environmental responsibility of government, the law dedicates chapters to information disclosure and public participation, which give citizens access to environmental information, participation, and supervision. The range of social organizations that can access environmental public interest litigation is outlined. The environmental responsibilities of the people’s courts and departments and organs for finance, education, agriculture, public security, supervision, and appointment and removal are clearly provided. In addition, the law, for the first time, defines the legal status of ‘environmental monitoring agencies’ and grants the environmental protection departments new regulatory powers. The amended law has laid the foundation for environmental protection in the new era. It is of high significance for protecting and improving the environment, safeguarding public health, promoting ecological civilization, and boosting sustainable economic and social development. After being reviewed three times in eight months, the newly revised Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution (the Air Pollution Control Law) was approved on 29 August 2015 by the sixteenth session of the Standing Committee of the twelfth NPC and came into effect on 1 January 2016. The Air Pollution Control Law is the first single law to be amended after the adoption of the new environmental law. Mainly applying to the grim situation of the current atmospheric environmental pollution, some changes have been made according to the spirit of the central authorities to speed up the construction of ecological civilization to be reflected in: writing the assessment mechanism into the new law, strengthening local government responsibility; emphasizing the source of governance, reversing the mode of economic development; seizing the main contradictions and solving outstanding problems; increasing penalties; and ensuring the law puts down deep roots. On 1 September 2016, the newly revised Environmental Impact Assessment Law was formally implemented, with five chapters and thirty-seven articles. The new Environmental Impact Assessment Law not only clearly defines the planning of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) but also introduces three major changes. First, the expert review link of planning environmental impact assessment has been added. The Municipal People’s Government shall, before approving the draft plan, make a decision by the environmental protection administrative department or other department designated by the people’s government or other departments to form a review team to review the environmental impact report, with a written review by the review team. The review opinions proposed by the group, the special planning of the compiling authority, should be adopted and modified, while the non-adopted ones reasons should be explained. Second, the planning of the EIA Law has been considered as an important basis for EIAs on construction projects. The plan, which has finished EIA containing the specific construction projects, the conclusions of planning environmental assessment should be used as an important basis for construction project EIA and the content of construction project EIA, should be simplified based on the planning environmental assessment review. The third change is to strengthen the legal responsibility EIA. If the planning authority for the organization of EIA, or the organization for EIA fraud or misconduct, results in an EIA that is seriously inaccurate, the directly responsible persons in charge and other directly responsible persons shall be given administrative sanctions by the higher authority or a supervisory authority. In accordance with the fact that that the eighteenth National Congress of the CPC has made a significant deployment of ‘accelerating the construction of ecological civilization’ and ‘building a strong marine power,’ marine ecological environmental protection plays a vital role in national ocean management and people’s livelihoods. On 7 November, the twenty-fourth meeting of the Standing Committee of the twelfth NPC adopted the Decision on Amending the Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Protection of the Marine Environment. The amendment is mainly focused on three aspects: first, the implementation of the new requirements of the eighteenth National Congress of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council on marine ecological and environmental protection; second, the convergence with the newly revised Environmental Protection Law and other laws, strengthening legal responsibility, and increasing the intensity of illegal punishment; and, third, to carry out the administrative examination and approval of ‘put the package’ reform, the abolition of some administrative examination, and approval matters. Based on the above ideas, this revision mainly has three goals. First, it identifies the ecological protection of the red line and marine ecological compensation system as the basic system of marine environmental protection, which reflects the concept of marine ecological and environmental protection from pollution prevention and control into ecological protection, with the formation of beneficiaries to pay and the protection of workers to get a reasonable compensation mechanism. Second, it clearly defines the status and role of marine area planning for the first time in legal form. Through the implementation of the planning of the marine main function area, it is necessary to guide the ocean development activities to adapt to the carrying capacity of resources and environment. Third, it increases the punishment of marine ecological environment pollution violations. There is no upper limit on the punishment of environmental violations, which embodies the central spirit of protecting the ecological environment with a strict system. (B) Regulations The prevention and control of atmospheric pollution has been highlighted. The State Council printed and circulated the Action Plan on Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution, which came up with thirty-five comprehensive control measures in ten articles in 2013. The annual tasks of reducing main pollutants have been accomplished in all respects. The responsibility appraisal mechanism was employed, and environmental review of new projects was halted in three provinces (autonomous region), three corporate groups, and six cities because they had failed the 2012 annual performance evaluation with regard to pollution reduction or had not carried out the key projects specified in their target responsibility documents. Forty-three companies were put on a watch list and ordered to make improvements within a limited period of time. The construction of pollution reduction projects was accelerated, with de-nitrogen oxide facilities available to additional 205 million kilowatts thermal power generating units, and de-sulphur dioxide facilities expanded and upgraded for 34 million kilowatts such units. The economic policies in regard to pollution reduction have been improved. The de-nitrogen oxide electricity price was raised from 0.8 cents per kilowatt hour to 1 cent per kilowatt hour, and the de-dust electricity price was set at 0.2 cents per kilowatt hour. The total loads of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, and ammonia nitrogen went down 3.5 percent, 4.7 percent, 2.9 percent, and 3.1 percent respectively year on year. In 2014, a new step forward was made in the prevention and control of air, water, and soil pollution. The Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Air Pollution was put into practice. First, pollution control in key industries was intensified. Air pollution governance programs were printed and issued for key industries in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (BTH) region, the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta, and surrounding areas. The Action Plan to Upgrade the Quality of Refined Oil for Air Pollution Prevention and Control, the Program for the Comprehensive Management of Volatile Organic Compounds in the Petrochemical Industry, and the action program to promote oil and gas recovery technologies in piers were rolled out. This year, the outdated and excess production capacity was eliminated, involving 31.1 million tons of steel, 81 million tons of cement, and 37.6 million weight boxes of plate glass. More than 6 million yellow-label vehicles and old and used cars and 55,000 small coal-red boilers were removed. Second, regional cooperation was enhanced. The task of air quality assurance during the Beijing Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit and the second Summer Youth Olympic Games was satisfactorily completed. In particular, the ‘APEC Blue’ was staged with excellent air quality on four days and good air quality on seven days, and the average concentration of pollutants fell to the five-year lowest levels. Third, the regulation of atmospheric environmental law enforcement was tightened. By high-tech means of satellite and unmanned aerial vehicles, environmental protection departments carried out special inspections monthly through joint enforcement, cross-department enforcement, and regional enforcement, and the results were communicated to local governments and to the public. Fourth, the monitoring and early warning system was improved. The 1,436 monitoring sites in 338 cities at or above the prefecture level are all capable of monitoring according to the new ambient air quality standards. Regional air quality forecasting and early warning platforms have been basically built in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei region, the Yangtze River Delta, and the Pearl River Delta. Fifth, supporting policies were introduced at a quicker pace. The State Council printed and distributed the Performance Assessment Measures for the Action Plan for Air Pollution Prevention and Control (Trial). There is an urgent requirement for environmental protection departments to carry out law-based administration. The resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Certain Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Advancing the Law-Based Governance of China indicates that we should uphold strict, normative, impartial, and civilized law enforcement, punish various types of violations in accordance with the law, intensify law enforcement in key areas involving people’s immediate interests, improve the procedures for law enforcement, define the specific operating processes, and focus on standardizing law enforcement activities including administrative compulsion. The very life and authority of the law lies in its implementation: ‘It is never difficult to legislate, but it is difficult to enforce the legislation.’ To comprehensively advance the law-based governance of China, we should put emphasis on ensuring the strict enforcement of the laws. Such measures as continuous daily fines, seizure of property, restricted production, and production suspension for rectification are very effective as they can easily infringe on, or cause unnecessary damage to, the concerned person’s rights and interests. To establish and improve legislation and to strengthen standardization and supervision of the actual implementation of the measures are therefore of great significance in protecting the legitimate rights and interests of the concerned person(s). They are also inevitable requirements for promoting the law-based governance of China. In addition, there is an urgent requirement for taking strong measures to crack down on environmental violations. With the development of the economy and society, as well as increased awareness of environmental protection, environmental departments at all levels are facing increasing pressures on supervision. In regard to those serious environmental violations, including prolonged malicious activities, repeat offenders, excessive discharge of pollutants, and pollutant discharges above the permitted limit, with only administrative law enforcement methods such as administrative penalties, environmental departments have been unable to urge offenders to effectively rectify. It is therefore necessary to adopt stronger measures to substantially increase the severity of the punishment. Continuous daily fines, seizure and detainment of property, restricted production, and suspension for rectification are powerful measures, the combination of which can effectively crack down on environmental violations, enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement, and escalate environmental supervision. Also, there is an urgent requirement for strengthening the polluter’s obligation as the main party responsible for environmental protection. The newly revised Environmental Protection Law establishes the principle of ‘accountability for damages,’ stipulating that enterprises, public institutions, and other manufacturers/business operators shall prevent and reduce environmental pollution and ecological destruction and shall be liable for the resulting damages in accordance with the law. As the direct main party responsible for protecting the environment, the polluter is under the obligation to correct the illegal discharge of pollutants and solve existing environmental problems, and he or she has the duty to provide environmental information, including the pollution treatment process and results, to the public. However, we have found in our law enforcement practices that some polluters turn over the responsibility for pollution remediation to the environmental protection departments, relying on them to provide remediation plans and conducting the inspections and environmental verifications. Without self-awareness of responsibility, these polluters are too lazy to fulfil their obligations and negatively wait for instructions from environmental departments. These four measures will thus further strengthen the polluter’s obligation as the main party responsible for environmental protection, specify each obligation imposed, and emphasize the timeliness of correcting violations and the initiative of implementing rectification measures. The main characteristics of these supplementary measures are as follows: first, they combine severe punishment on illegally discharging pollutants with safeguarding the legitimate rights of the administrative counterpart. The refinement of the applicable circumstances and the design of the implementation procedures clarified in these four supplementary measures all pursue the idea of increasing punishment. Polluters are not allowed to illegally discharge a pollutant for a single day, and once they break the law, they will be made to pay a penalty. For some severe acts of illegal pollution, financial penalties such as daily fines can be applied together with punishments of behaviour, including seizure and restraint, restricted production, and suspended production, as well as personal punishments such as administrative detention. According to the design of the daily fine system, rather than ‘making corrections within a time limit,’ polluters are ordered to stop discharging pollutants immediately, leaving no time for them to ‘legally’ discharge pollutants within the deadline. The re-examination of the correction should be secretly conducted within thirty days, so as to monitor the actual discharge of pollutants, deter the polluters from counting on luck and making the corrections only superficially, and push them to carry out genuine rectification and meet the requirements for legal discharges. Daily fines are not limited by the number of times they are given. Administrative penalties will not stop until the illegal discharges are gone. Meanwhile, considering that punishment measures such as daily fines, seizure and restraint, restricted production, and suspended production have bearing on the vital interests of the polluters, law enforcement departments are very cautious and strict with the design of the internal procedure for environmental protection departments, with a view to fully taking the legitimate rights of the administrative counterpart into account. For instance, prior to making the decision on seizure and restraint, restricted production, and suspended production for rectification, the environmental protection department should submit a written report to the person in charge of the competent environmental protection department for approval. Penalties for major cases or cases with serious social impact should be decided by the collective deliberation of the case review committee of the competent environmental protection department. In addition, polluters should be informed about the relevant facts, basis, and their legal rights in order to defend themselves and to request a hearing. Second, the supplementary measures have been developed in strict accordance with the law with the actual situation of environmental enforcement and a focus on practicality. The enactment of these four supplementary measures is strictly in compliance with the legal provisions of the Environmental Protection Law, the Administrative Penalty Law, the Administrative Compulsion Law, and so on, and they implement the spirit of the Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Certain Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Advancing the Law-Based Governance of China to promote administration by law. In addition, these measures fully consider the actual need for environmental enforcement and innovate some provisions with environmental protection features. For example, as most objects of law enforcement are immobile, large facilities and equipment, in accordance with the Measures of the Competent Environmental Protection Department on Seizure and Detainment of Property (Measures on Seizure and Detainment), immobile facilities and equipment or facilities and equipment with special storage requirements should be sequestrated on site. Seals may be posted on key components including control devices of the facilities and equipment or switching valves of water, electricity, and gas leading to pollutant discharges. Pollution control facilities are not treated as facilities or equipment causing pollutant emission. Considering that it is very difficult for grassroots law enforcement officials to identify such abstract behaviour and concepts as ‘illegal pollutant discharge,’ ‘causing or maybe causing serious pollution,’ and ‘major pollutant-discharging entity,’ these four measures explicitly enumerate applicable circumstances for daily fines, seizure and restraint, and restricted production and suspended production for rectification, and clearly define major pollutant-discharging entities for the officers to master and practice. Third, they combine strict legal enforcement in accordance with the strengthening of corporate self-discipline. After the new Environmental Protection Law was introduced, environmental departments, especially grassroots law enforcement staff, generally felt an enormous pressure and great deal of responsibility. After the new law came into effect, they faced dual pressures in the performance of duties and accountability. To better serve and guide these enforcement officers to do a good job in implementing the new environmental law, these four supplementary measures define the statutory duties and responsibility boundaries of environmental protection departments and highlight that the polluter is the direct major party responsible for environmental protection. For example, the most prominent features of the Measures on Daily Fines and the Measures of the Competent Environmental Protection Department on Restricted Production and Production Suspension for Rectification (Measures on Restricted Production) are, based on the legislative spirit of the new Environmental Protection Law, that the polluter being the major party responsible for stopping illegal pollutant discharge and conducting rectification, polluter’s self-discipline being the foundation of implementing the ordered correction, restricted production and suspended production for rectification, and the polluter being responsible for its environmental behaviour and damages. Once a polluter is ordered to limit production or suspend operation, it must file a rectification plan, conduct self-monitoring of the rectification process, and bear the responsibility for rectification. The release of the restrictions further strengthens the polluter’s responsibilities as the main party for environmental protection. The removal of the decisions on restricted production and suspended production for rectification no longer relies on environmental protection department’s verification and acceptance procedures—rather, it depends on the polluter itself. The polluter’s enthusiasm and initiative for rectification can therefore be greatly mobilized. The polluter is required to take full responsibility for the results of the rectification; his or her self-discipline will thus be strengthened. Fourth, they combine the ‘zero tolerance’ to illegal pollutant discharge in accordance with the protection of the public interest. While preserving environmental legal authority, environmental departments exercise administrative law enforcement to safeguard the public interest and social orders. The Measures on Seizure and Detainment and the Measures on Restricted Production specifically stipulate that, in line with relevant environmental laws and regulations, the competent environmental department should punish and may not implement seizure and restraint of properties or suspension for rectification to public facility operators in such fields as urban sewage treatment, garbage disposal, and hazardous waste disposal—polluters whose operations involve people’s livelihoods and public interest or polluters whose production safety may be affected once sequestration or suspension for rectification is imposed. This provision follows the administrative principle of proportionality that is ‘the lesser of two evils,’ and reflects the legislative idea of careful implementation of sequestration and suspended operation for rectification. The Measures on Sharing Environmental Information by Enterprises and Public Institutions identify the main parties and contents of information disclosure by firmly focusing on the ‘doorstep’ environmental issues attracting public attention and concern. By disclosing information in ways that are easy for the public to access, these measures fully embody the principle of convenience for people, satisfy the public’s right to know, and facilitate public participation in environmental management and supervision on enterprises for lawful discharge of pollutants. Fifth, they serve to increase punishment in accordance with the disclosure of information. The new Environmental Protection Law adds a special chapter on information disclosure and public participation. With the general principle of sharing environmental information running throughout, the four supplementary measures uphold the legislative intent. To adopt the three approaches on daily fines, seizure and detainment of property, and restricted and suspended operation, environmental protection departments are explicitly required to publish the decision to issue a rectification order and impose an administrative penalty, related information on the decision for sequestration, the extension and release of sequestration, and relevant information of the decision of restricted operation and suspended operation for rectification, the extension of restricted operation, and the date for the release of restricted operation or suspension for rectification. Also, the Measures on Restricted Production require the polluters to publicly disclose their rectification plan and related information. These regulations and requirements will facilitate public participation and supervision, thereby forming a management model of ‘government regulation, corporate self-discipline and public supervision’ and amplifying the effects of environmental law enforcement. The Measures on Sharing Environmental Information by Enterprises and Public Institutions are themselves rules and regulations to standardize enterprises’ information disclosure. Environmental departments should guide and supervise enterprises to disclose information and give full play to the supervisory role of the public on pollutant discharge behaviour. (3) Interpretations of National Inventory of Hazardous Wastes (2016) The MEP, together with the National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Public Security, recently promulgated the National Inventory of Hazardous Wastes (2016) (the Inventory), which was to be enforced as of 1 August 2016. There are several main changes made to the previous version (2008), as outlined below. (A) Amendments to the Preface The main changes made to the preface based on the 2008 version include: first, the preface of the latest version describes how to manage medical wastes; second, it has amended the explanations for the determination of the properties of hazardous wastes that are combined with other solid wastes, as well as of the wastes from treated hazardous wastes; third, it adds explanations for the exempted hazardous wastes and how to classify hazardous wastes once they are identified as hazardous. (B) Changes in the Varieties of Hazardous Wastes The 2008 version classified hazardous wastes into 400 varieties under forty-nine categories, whereas this version reclassifies them into 479 varieties under forty-six categories (including 362 varieties from the previous version and 117 new additions). Specifically, the HW06 organic solvent wastes, HW41 waste halogenated organic solvents, and HW42 waste organic solvents in the previous version are combined as HW06 waste organic solvents and wastes containing organic solvents; HW43 wastes containing polychlorinated benzo-furan and HW44 wastes containing polychlorinated benzo-dioxin are removed; and HW50 waste catalysts are added to the latest version. (C) Addition of an Exemption List The exemption of hazardous wastes from management may reduce the overall environmental risks in the course of management and raise the management efficiency. Based on studies on ongoing environmental standards and the environmental risks of certain hazardous wastes, this version adds an exemption list containing sixteen varieties/categories of hazardous wastes that will be exempted from management as hazardous waste at specified stages, under relevant conditions, and in accordance with related descriptions. (D) Removing the Asterisk Label from the 2008 Version In the previous version, some hazardous wastes were marked with an asterisk because they had come from a variety of sources, there were possible exceptions to their hazardous properties, and there were specific national standards for their identification. If the generators of the hazardous wastes so marked have satisfactory evidence proving that such wastes do not have any hazardous property, the said wastes may not be treated as hazardous wastes. There are thirty-three varieties of such hazardous wastes. However, this has led to great discrepancy among different regions in the requirements for the management of certain solid wastes. Also, it does not comply with relevant provisions of the Law on Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Wastes that ‘hazardous wastes refer to the solid wastes that are listed in the National Inventory of Solid Wastes or the solid wastes that are determined in accordance with the national standards and methods on identification of hazardous wastes as possessing any hazardous property.’ (E) Substituting the List of Waste Hazardous Chemicals with the Inventory of Hazardous Chemicals Appendix A to the 2008 version lists 498 varieties of waste hazardous chemicals under priority management, but they cover only toxic chemicals, excluding chemicals with other hazardous properties. In the new version, all hazardous chemicals with any hazardous property are listed, in accordance with the descriptions on the hazardous properties in the identification standards for hazardous wastes. As the Inventory of Hazardous Chemicals released by ten state departments, including State Administration of Work Safety, involves all of the hazardous properties, it becomes part of the new version. Main principles such as highlighting the priorities and updating based on practicability and continuity are followed in updating the inventory. The updating is problem oriented and aims at the delicate management of hazardous wastes. The hazardous wastes vary greatly in category, in properties, and in pollution characteristics, so it is impossible to effectively control their pollution without some singular management approach. The management of hazardous wastes should be based on the principle of environmental risk control, by adopting whole process control and a category-specific management approach to prevent and control their hazards on the environment and on public health. An exemption list has been added to this version, which, as an important part of subsequent updating, will gradually advance the delicate management of hazardous wastes. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com

Journal

Yearbook of International Environmental LawOxford University Press

Published: Dec 28, 2017

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