China’s system of environmental legislation is established based on the Environmental Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China that was enacted in 1989. Under this law, other separate laws have been enacted for controlling pollution. Some of these laws are as follows:
- Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Prevention and Control of Air Pollution
- Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution
- Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Waste
- Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Environmental Impact Assessment
- Law of the People’s Republic of China on Prevention and Control of Pollution from Environmental Noise
- Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Promotion of Clean Production.
China updated the Environmental Protection Law in 2015. This was the first major revisions. The revised law includes stricter punishments on polluters. It also allows non-governmental organizations to file environmental lawsuits against violators. The National People’s Congress revised other laws, including the Law on the Prevention and control of Air Pollution in 2018 and the Law on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution in 2017. The Congress also adopted the Law on the Prevention and Control of Soil Pollution on August 31, 2018.
Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Prevention and Control of Air Pollution was enacted in 1987 and amended in 1995, 2000, 2015 and 2018. This Law is formulated in order to prevent and control atmospheric pollution, protect and improve people’s environment and the ecological environment, safeguard human health, and promote the sustainable development of economy and society. The concentration of the discharged pollutants may not exceed the standards prescribed by the State and local authorities. The quality standards for products containing volatile organic compounds, such as coal, petroleum coke, biomass fuel, and coatings, fireworks and firecrackers, boilers, etc., are developed and the atmospheric environment protection requirements are specified.
The environmental legislative framework to protect the air pollution is as follows.
Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Prevention and Control of Air Pollution
- List of toxic and hazardous air pollutants
- National standards on air pollution prevention:
- Ambient air quality standards (GB3095-2012), etc.
- Stationary source emissions:
- Standard for fugitive emission of volatile organic compounds（GB37822-2019）
- Emission standard of air pollutants for boiler（GB13271-2014）
- Emission standard of air pollutants for industrial kiln and furnace (GB9078-1996)
- Integrated emission standard of air pollutants (GB16297-1996)
- Emission standards for odor pollutants (GB14554-93), etc.
- Emission Standard for Mobile-source Pollutants:
- Limits and measurement methods for emissions from light-duty vehicles (CHINA 6) (GB18352.6-2016), etc.
- Announcement regarding enforcement of special emission limits for air pollutants
- Local standards for air quality protection
Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution is formulated in order to prevent and control water pollution, protecting and improving the environment, and safeguarding the safety of drinking water.
The environmental legislative framework to protect the water pollution is as follows.
Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Prevention and Control of Water Pollution
- List of Toxic and Hazardous Water Pollutants
- National Advanced Pollution Control Technology List
- Measures for controlling the Collection and Usage of Pollution Discharge Fee
- National standards on water pollution prevention:
- Water quality standards：
- Environmental quality standards for surface water（GB 3838-2002）
- Quality standard for ground water (GB/T 14848-93), etc.
- Standards on pollutants discharge from water stationary sources:
- Integrated wastewater discharge standard (GB 8978-1996), etc.
Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Waste is the national primary law governing municipal and industrial waste management. This law lays out basic requirements for solid waste disposal for industrial facilities. It requires the specified facilities to get approval from the local environmental protection bureau for waste disposal plans prior to construction. The bureaus are also responsible for issuing permits for the collection, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste.
The environmental legislative framework on waste management is as follows.
Law of the People’s Republic of China on the Prevention and Control of Environmental Pollution by Solid Waste
- Standards for the prevention and control of environmental pollution by solid wastes:
- Standard for pollution control on the storage and disposal site for general industrial solid wastes (GB 18599-2001)
- Standard for pollution control on the security landfill site for hazardous wastes (GB 18598-2001)
- Standard for pollution control on hazardous waste storage (GB 18597-2001)
- Pollution control standard for hazardous wastes incineration (GB 18484-2001)
- Environmental protection control standard for imported solid wastes as raw materials —Smelt slag (GB16487.2-2017), etc.
- Identification standards for solid wastes – General rules (GB 34330-2017)
- Identification standards for hazardous waste – General rules (GB 5085.7-2019), etc.
Industrial chemicals are mainly regulated by the following regulations in China:
“Decree of the State Council No 591 Regulations on Safe Management of Hazardous Chemicals”
“Order of the Ministry of Environmental Protection No. 7 Environmental Management of New Chemical Substances”
Pursuant to article 15 of the Decree No 591, manufacturers of hazardous chemicals shall provide safety data sheet on the hazardous chemicals that are produced, post or affix a chemical safety label on the package. The contents in safety data sheet and chemical safety labels should meet the requirements of relevant national standards. The relevant standards in China are as follows:
- General rule for classification and hazard communication of chemicals (GB 13690-2009)
- 28 rules for classification and labelling of chemicals (GB 30000.2-2013 to GB 30000.29-2013)
- General rules for preparation of precautionary label for chemicals (GB 15258-2009)
- Safety data sheet for chemical products – Content and order of sections (GB/T 16483-2008)
- Guidance on the compilation of safety data sheet for chemical products (GB/T 17519-2013)
On April 29, 2020, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the People’s Republic of China (MEE) issued the final Measures on Registrations of New Chemical Substances for Environmental Management under Ministry Order No. 12. The new Measures replaces the current 2010 version and comes into force on January 1, 2021, when the Order No.7 will be repealed.
Same as the current version, the new Measures require manufacturers and importers to register new chemical substances with MEE before placing the new chemical substances on the Chinese market. They also introduce a notification process for new uses of existing listed substances.
Law on the Safety of Hazardous Chemicals (Revision draft for solicitation of comments)
In order to strengthen the safety management of hazardous chemicals, prevent and reduce hazardous chemical accidents, the Ministry of Emergency Management organized the consultation on the draft of the “Law on the Safety of Hazardous Chemicals”, which had been open to the public comments until 1 November, 2020. If approved, it will replace Decree No. 591.
The draft law is applicable to the safety management of the production, storage, use, operation, transportation and disposal of hazardous chemicals. It consists of 11 chapters (Article 137), and based on the lessons learned from the explosion accident, “Safety of hazardous chemical disposal” etc. was added to clarify the responsibility for safety supervision of the disposal (Disposal safety). The State implements a hazardous chemical registration system.
Source: Enviliance ASIA, 30 Nov 2023. https://enviliance.com/categories/east-asia/cn