Wednesday, January 7, 2015

China encourages environmental groups to sue polluters

The Guardian (UK) via AFP: China on Wednesday granted public interest groups more power to sue those that flout environmental protection laws, the country’s highest court said, as Beijing steps up efforts to curb pollution that regularly chokes major cities.

Social groups that work to fight polluters judicially will gain special status and have court fees reduced, the Supreme People’s Court said on its website. They will also be allowed to sue firms or individuals across China, regardless of where the organisation is based.

The term the court used for the groups covers both NGOs and government-backed organisations, although it was not immediately clear whether independent environmentalists will benefit from the regulations.

China has more than 700 registered and regulated environmental protection groups, the official Xinhua news agency cited a ministry official as saying. The new rules came into force on Wednesday, the court said, adding that they were issued “in response to questions on the matter”.

A side effect of the country’s meteoric economic rise of recent decades has been severe pollution in major cities, leading to increased public
dissatisfaction that has unnerved the ruling Communist Party. Recent studies have shown that roughly two-thirds of China’s soil is estimated to be polluted, and that 60% of underground water is too contaminated to drink...

Beijing smog, shot by Kevin Dooley Kevin Dooley, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

No comments: