CHINA Govt streamlines environmental rules to help service sector recovery

CHINA

Govt streamlines environmental rules to help service sector recovery

China Daily

17:26, August 28, 2020

Samples are collected by engineers to test water quality in Baoji, Northwest China's Shaanxi province in this file photo taken in 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)

Authorities have streamlined environmental impact assessment procedures for some service industries hurt by the COVID-19 epidemic, and enhanced supervision and penalty on cheating in assessment reports.

The Ministry of Ecology and Environment said on Friday that by July, about 76,000 projects, mainly small and micro businesses in the service sector such as catering and entertainment, have been exempted from filing their environmental impact assessment registration form.

"The businesses such as hospitality and entertainment had been severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and the move can help them resume production faster," Liu Zhiquan, head of the ministry's environmental impact assessment and emission management department, said at a news conference.

But it doesn't mean that authorities are easing environmental supervision on these projects, as the inspection and management would be carried out at the same time or after their businesses resume.

By July, the ministry had also shortened assessment procedures for 13,374 projects from industries such as equipment manufacturing, agricultural product processing and transportation.

Liu said any violation found during random inspections will be punished as per law.

While streamlining environmental assessment procedures for certain projects, the ministry has also tightened supervision on the authenticity of assessment reports.

Recently, it has discovered 10 problematic environmental impact assessment reports during inspections and sent them to local authorities in provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Sichuan and Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Latest data from the ministry showed that authorities across China have finished reviewing about 7,000 reports, especially those from major polluting industries.

To regulate the assessment industry and its practitioners, the ministry is also planning a guideline for penalty on cheating in assessment reports.

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