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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION LAW OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA


(Adopted at the 11th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Seventh National People's Congress on December 26, 1989, promulgated by Order No. 22 of the President of the People's Republic of China on December 26, 1989, and effective on the date of promulgation)


Contents

Chapter I General Provisions

Chapter II Supervision and Management of the Environment

Chapter III Protection and Improvement of the Environment

Chapter IV Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution and OtherPublic Hazards

Chapter V Legal Liability

Chapter VI Supplementary Provisions


Chapter I General Provisions

Article 1

This Law is formulated for the purpose of protecting and improving people's environment and the ecological environment, preventing and controlling pollution and other public hazards, safeguarding human health and facilitating the development of socialist modernization.

Article 2

"Environment" as used in this Law refers to the total body of all naturalelements and artificially transformed natural elements affecting humanexistence and development, which includes the atmosphere, water, seas,land, minerals, forests, grasslands, wildlife, natural and human remains,nature reserves, historic sites and scenic spots, and urban and ruralareas.

Article 3

This Law shall apply to the territory of the People's Republic of Chinaand other sea areas under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic ofChina.

Article 4

The plans for environmental protection formulated by the state must beincorporated into the national economic and social development plans; thestate shall adopt economic and technological policies and measuresfavorable for environmental protection so as to coordinate the work ofenvironmental protection with economic construction and socialdevelopment.

Article 5

The state shall encourage the development of education in the science ofenvironmental protection, strengthen the study and development of thescience and technology of environmental protection, raise the scientificand technological level of environmental protection and popularizescientific knowledge of environmental protection.

Article 6

All units and individuals shall have the obligation to protect theenvironment and shall have the right to report on or file charges againstunits or individuals that cause pollution or damage to the environment.

Article 7

The competent department of environmental protection administration underthe State Council shall conduct unified supervision and management of theenvironmental protection work throughout the country.The competent departments of environmental protection administration ofthe local people's governments at or above the county level shall conductunified supervision and management of the environmental protection workwithin areas under their jurisdiction. The state administrativedepartment of marine affairs, the harbour superintendency administration,the fisheries administration and fishing harbour superintendencyagencies,the environmental protection department of the armed forces and theadministrative departments of public security, transportation, railwaysand civil aviation at various levels shall, in accordance with theprovisions of relevant laws, conduct supervision and management of theprevention and control of environmental pollution. The competentadministrative departments of land, minerals, forestry, agriculture andwater conservancy of the people's governments at or above the county levelshall, in accordance with the provisions of relevant laws, conductsupervision and management of the protection of natural resources.

Article 8

The people's government shall give awards to units and individuals thathave made outstanding achievements in protecting and improving theenvironment.


Chapter II Supervision and Management of the Environment

Article 9

The competent department of environmental protection administration underthe State Council shall establish the national standards for environmentquality. The people's governments of provinces, autonomous regions andmunicipalities directly under the Central Government may establish theirlocal standards for environment quality for items not specified in thenational standards for environment quality and shall report them to thecompetent department of environmental protection administration under theState Council for the record.

Article 10

The competent department of environmental protection administration underthe State Council shall, in accordance with the national standards forenvironment quality and the country's economic and technologicalconditions, establish the national standards for the discharge ofpollutants.The people's governments of provinces, autonomous regions andmunicipalities directly under the Central Government may establish theirlocal standards for the discharge of pollutants for items not specified inthe national standards; with regard to items already specified in thenational standards, they may set local standards which are more stringentthan the national standards and report the same to the competentdepartment of environmental protection administration under the StateCouncil for the record. Units that discharge pollutants in areas wherethe local standards for the discharge of pollutants have been establishedshall observe such local standards.

Article 11

The competent department of environmental protection administration underthe State Council shall establish a monitoring system, formulate themonitoring norm and, in conjunction with relevant departments, organize amonitoring network and strengthen the management of environmentalmonitoring.The competent departments of environmental protection administration underthe State Council and governments of provinces, autonomous regions andmunicipalities directly under the Central Government shall regularly issuebulletins on environmental situations.

Article 12

The competent departments of environmental protection administration ofthe people's governments at or above the county level shall, inconjunction with relevant departments, make an investigation and anassessment of the environmental situation within areas under theirjurisdiction, draw up plans for environmental protection which shall,subject to overall balancing by the department of planning, be submittedto the people's government at the same level for approval beforeimplementation.

Article 13

Units constructing projects that cause pollution to the environment mustobserve the state provisions concerning environmental protection for suchconstruction projects. The environmental impact statement on aconstruction project must assess the pollution the projects is likely toproduce and its impact on the environment and stipulate the preventive andcurative measures; the statement shall, after initial examination by theauthorities in charge of the construction project, be submitted byspecified procedure to the competent department of environmentalprotection administration for approval. The department of planning shallnot ratify the design plan descriptions of the construction project untilafter the environmental impact statement on the construction project isapproved.

Article 14

The competent departments of environmental protection administration ofthe people's governments at or above the county level or other departmentsinvested by law with power to conduct environmental supervision andmanagement shall be empowered to make on-site inspections of units undertheir jurisdiction that discharge pollutants. The units being inspectedshall truthfully report the situation to them and provide them with thenecessary information. The inspecting authorities shall keep confidentialthe technological know-how and business secrets of the units inspected.

Article 15

Work for the prevention and control of the environmental pollution anddamage that involve various administrative areas shall be conducted by therelevant local people's governments through negotiation, or by decision ofthe people's government at a higher level through mediation.


Chapter III Protection and Improvement of the Environment

Article 16

The local people's governments at various levels shall be responsible forthe environment quality of areas under their jurisdiction and takemeasures to improve the environment quality.

Article 17

The people's governments at various levels shall take measures to protectregions representing various types of natural ecological systems, regionswith a natural distribution of rare and endangered wild animals andplants, regions where major sources of water are conserved, geologicalstructures of major scientific and cultural value, famous regions wherekarst caves and fossil deposits are distributed, traces of glaciers,volcanoes and hot springs, traces of human history, and ancient andprecious trees. Damage to the above shall be strictly forbidden.

Article 18

Within the scenic spots or historic sites, nature reserves and other zones that need special protection, as designated by the State Council, therelevant competent department under the State Council, and the people'sgovernments of provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directlyunder the Central Government, no industrial production installations thatcause environmental pollution shall be built; other installations to bebuilt in these areas must not exceed the prescribed standards for thedischarge of pollutants. If the installations that have been builtdischarge more pollutants than are specified by the prescribed dischargestandards, such pollution shall be eliminated or controlled within aprescribed period of time.

Article 19

Measures must be taken to protect the ecological environment while naturalresources are being developed or utilized.

Article 20

The people's governments at various levels shall provide better protectionfor the agricultural environment by preventing and controlling soilpollution, the desertification and alkalization of land, theimpoverishment of soil, the deterioration of land into marshes, earthsubsidence, the damage of vegetation, soil erosion, the drying up ofsources of water, the extinction of species and the occurrence anddevelopment of other ecological imbalances, by extending the scale of comprehensive prevention and control of plant diseases and insect pests,and by promoting a rational application of chemical fertilizers,pesticides and plant growth hormone.

Article 21

The State Council and the people's governments at various levels incoastal areas shall provide better protection for the marine environment.The discharge of pollutants and the dumping of wastes into the seas, theconstruction of coastal projects, and the exploration and exploitation ofoffshore oil must be conducted in compliance with legal provisions so asto guard against the pollution and damage of the marine environment.

Article 22

The targets and tasks for protecting and improving the environment shallbe defined in urban planning.

Article 23

In urban and rural construction, vegetation, waters and the naturallandscape shall be protected and attention paid to the construction ofgardens, green land and historic sites and scenic spots in the cities inthe light of the special features of the local natural environment.


Chapter IV Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution and Other Public Hazards

Article 24

Units that cause environmental pollution and other public hazards shallincorporate the work of environmental protection into their plans andestablish a responsibility system for environmental protection, and mustadopt effective measures to prevent and control the pollution and harmscaused to the environment by waste gas, waste water, waste residues, dust,malodorous gases, radioactive substances, noise, vibration andelectromagnetic radiation generated in the course of production,construction or other activities.

Article 25

For the technological transformation of newly-built industrial enterprisesand existingindustrial enterprises, facilities and processes that effecta high rate of the utilization of resources and a low rate of thedischarge of pollutants shall be used, along with economical and rationaltechnology for the comprehensive utilization of waste materials and thetreatment of pollutants.

Article 26

Installations for the prevention and control of pollution at aconstruction project must be designed, built and commissioned togetherwith the principal part of the project. No permission shall be given for aconstruction project to be commissioned or used, until its installationsfor the prevention and control of pollution are examined and considered upto the standard by the competent department of environmental protectionadministration that examined and approved the environmental impactstatement. Installations for the prevention and control of pollutionshall not be dismantled or left idle without authorization. If it isreally necessary to dismantle such installations or leave them idle, priorapproval shall be obtained from the competent department of environmentalprotection administration in the locality.

Article 27

Enterprises and institutions discharging pollutants must report to andregister with the relevant authorities in accordance with the provisionsof the competent department of environmental protection administrationunder the State Council.

Article 28

Enterprises and institutions discharging pollutants in excess of theprescribed national or local discharge standards shall pay a fee forexcessive discharge according to state provisions and shall assumeresponsibility for eliminating and controlling the pollution. Theprovisions of the Law on Prevention and Control of Water Pollution shallbe complied with where they are applicable.The income derived from the fee levied for the excessive discharge ofpollutants must be used for the prevention and control of pollution andshall not be appropriated for other purposes. The specific measuresthereof shall be prescribed by the State Council.

Article 29

If an enterprise or institution has caused severe environmental pollution,it shall be required to eliminate and control the pollution within acertain period of time. For enterprises and institutions directly underthe jurisdiction of the Central Government or the people's government of aprovince, an autonomous region, or a municipality directly under theCentral Government, the decision on a deadline for the elimination orcontrol of pollution shall be made by the people's government of theprovince, autonomous region and the municipality directly under theCentral Government. For enterprises and institutions under thejurisdiction of a people's government at or below the city or countylevel, such decision shall be made by the people's government of the cityor county. Such enterprises and institutions shall accomplish theelimination or control of pollution within the specified period of time.

Article 30

A ban shall be imposed on the importation of any technology or facilitythat fails to meet the requirements specified in the regulations of ourcountry concerning environmental protection.

Article 31

Any unit that, as a result of an accident or any other exigency, hascaused or threatens to cause an accident of pollution, must promptly takemeasures to prevent and control the pollution hazards, make the situationknown to such units and inhabitants as are likely to be endangered by suchhazards, report the case to the competent department of environmentalprotection administration of the locality and the departments concernedand accept their investigation and decision.Enterprises and institutions that are likely to cause severe pollutionaccidents shall adopt measures for effective prevention.

Article 32

If the safety of the lives and property of inhabitants is endangered bysevere environmental pollution, the competent department of environmentalprotection administration of the local people's government at or above thecounty level must promptly report to the local people's government. Thepeople's government concerned shall take effective measures to remove oralleviate the hazard.

Article 33

The production, storage, transportation, sale and use of toxic chemicalsand materials containing radioactive substances must comply with therelevant state provisions so as to prevent environmental pollution.

Article 34

No unit shall be permitted to transfer a production facility that causessevere pollution for use by a unit that is unable to prevent and controlpollution.


Chapter V Legal Liability

Article 35

Any violator of this Law shall, according to the circumstances of thecase, be warned or fined by the competent department of environmentalprotection administration or another department invested by law with powerto conduct environmental supervision and management for any of thefollowing acts:

(1) refusing an on-site inspection by the competent department ofenvironmental protection administration or another department invested bylaw with power to conduct environmental supervision and management, orresorting to trickery and fraud while undergoing inspection;

(2) refusing to report or submitting a false report on items for whichdeclaration is required by the competent department of environmentalprotection administration under the State Council;

(3) failing to pay, as provided for by the state, the fee for theexcessive discharge of pollutants;

(4) importing technology or a facility that fails to meet the requirementsspecified in the state provisions concerning environmental protection; or

(5) transferring a production facility that causes severe pollution foruse by a unit that is unable to prevent and control pollution.

Article 36

When a construction project is commissioned or put to use in circumstanceswhere facilities for the prevention and control of pollution either havenot been completed or fail to meet the requirements specified in stateprovisions, the competent department of environmental protectionadministration responsible for the approval of the environmental impactstatement on the construction project shall order the suspension of itsoperations or use and may concurrently impose a fine.

Article 37

A unit which dismantles or leaves idle the installations for theprevention and control of pollution without prior approval by thecompetent department of environmental protection administration, therebydischarging pollutants in excess of the prescribed discharge standards,shall be ordered by the competent department of environmental protectionadministration to set up the installations or put them to use again, andshall concurrently be fined.

Article 38

An enterprise or institution which violates this Law, thereby causing anenvironmental pollution accident, shall be fined by the competentdepartment of environmental protection administration or anotherdepartment invested by law with power to conduct environmental supervisionand management in accordance with the consequent damage; in a seriouscase, the persons responsible shall be subject to administrative sanctionby the unit to which they belong or by the competent department of thegovernment.

Article 39

An enterprise or institution that has failed to eliminate or controlpollution by the deadline as required shall, as provided for by the state,pay a fee for excessive discharge; in addition, a fine may be imposed onit on the basis of the damage incurred, or the enterprise or institutionmay be ordered to suspend its operations or close down. The fine asspecified in the preceding paragraph shall be decided by the competentdepartment of environmental protection administration. An order for thesuspension of operations or shut-down of an enterprise or institutionshall be issued by the people's government that set the deadline for theelimination or control of pollution. An order for the suspension ofoperations or shut-down of an enterprise or institution directly under thejurisdiction of the Central Government shall be submitted to and approvedby the State Council.

Article 40

A party refusing to accept the decision on administrative sanction may,within 15 days of receiving the notification on such a decision, apply forreconsideration to the department next higher to the authorities thatimposed the sanction; if the party refuses to accept the decision ofreconsideration, it may, within 15 days of receiving the reconsiderationdecision, bring a suit before a people's court. A party may also bring asuit directly before a people's court within 15 days of receiving thenotification on the sanction. If, upon the expiration of this period, theparty has not applied for reconsideration or has neither brought a suitbefore a people's court nor complied with the sanction, the authoritiesthat imposed the sanction may apply to the people's court for compulsoryenforcement.

Article 41

A unit that has caused an environmental pollution hazard shall have theobligation to eliminate it and make compensation to the unit or individualthat suffered direct losses. A dispute over the liability to makecompensation or the amount of compensation may, at the request of theparties, be settled by the competent department of environmentalprotection administration or another department invested by law with powerto conduct environmental supervision and management. If a party refuses toaccept the decision on the settlement, it may bring a suit before apeople's court. The party may also directly bring a suit before thepeople's court.If environmental pollution losses result solely from irresistible naturaldisasters which cannot be averted even after the prompt adoption ofreasonable measures, the party concerned shall be exempted from liability.

Article 42

The limitation period for prosecution with respect to compensation forenvironmental pollution losses shall be three years, counted from the timewhen the party becomes aware of or should become aware of the pollutionlosses.

Article 43

If a violation of this Law causes a serious environmental pollutionaccident, leading to the grave consequences of heavy losses of public orprivate property or human injuries or deaths of persons, the personsdirectly responsible for such an accident shall be investigated forcriminal responsibility according to law.

Article 44

Whoever, in violation of this Law, causes damage to natural resources likeland, forests, grasslands, water, minerals, fish, wild animals and wildplants shall bear legal liability in accordance with the provisions ofrelevant laws.

Article 45

Any person conducting supervision and management of environmentalprotection who abuses his power, neglects his duty or engages inmalpractices for personal gains shall be given administrative sanction bythe unit to which he belongs or the competent higher authorities; if hisact constitutes a crime, he shall be investigated for criminalresponsibility according to law.


Chapter VI Supplementary Provisions

Article 46

If an international treaty regarding environmental protection concluded oracceded to by the People's Republic of China contains provisions differingfrom those contained in the laws of the People's Republic of China, theprovisions of the international treaty shall apply, unless the provisionsare ones on which the People's Republic of China has announcedreservations.

Article 47

This Law shall enter into force on the date of promulgation. TheEnvironmental Protection Law of the People's Republic of China (for TrialImplementation) shall be abrogated therefrom.



Ministry of Land and Resources P.R. ChinaDepartment of Land and Resources of Hubei ProvincePeople’s Government of HuanggangHuanggang Municipal Bureau of Land and ResourcesGlobal Geoparks NetworkNational Geopark of China The Geological Museum of ChinaHong Kong UNESCO Global GeoparkShennongjia Global GeoparkTianzhushan Global Geopark




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