MAC: Mines and Communities

China Tightens Central Control Over Environment

Published by MAC on 2006-08-02

China Tightens Central Control Over Environment

by PlanetArk CHINA:

2nd August 2006

BEIJING - China's environmental watchdog will set up branch offices to monitor and investigate environmental issues, bypassing regional bureaux, Xinhua news agency reported.

The offices, some of which will also monitor nuclear and radiation security, will come under the direct control of the central State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA). "They are directly led by SEPA and will not take instructions from local environmental protection departments," Xinhua quoted an unnamed SEPA official as saying.

China has been trying to curb pollution and tighten its monitoring of potential environmental hazards, following major disasters including a toxic spill last year that poisoned the Songhua River, a source of drinking water for millions.

But despite tighter rules and more spending, the government has conceded to being stymied by local officials who are reluctant to use cleaner technologies if they are more expensive and who value economic growth above environmental safety.

Regional environment departments, which are affiliated with local governments, were also inefficient and timid about exposing pollution scandals that involved local officials, the Xinhua report said.


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