|A deputy to the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) from esat China's Shandong Province voices his opinions on amending the pollution law during a panel discussion. [Xinhua]
The top legislature will be launching special inspections across the country this year to determine if enforcement of the air pollution control law has been effective.
Results from inspections will help legislators decide how to amend the law "to provide more legal backing for smog control", said Fu Ying, spokeswoman for the second session of the 12th National People's Congress, which is scheduled to convene on Wednesday.
Her insight into the top legislature's plan was in response to a question about the heavy pollution in China in which a reporter asked, "Apart from wearing masks, what else can the public rely on?"
The top legislature is facing the possibility of meting out stronger measures to curb air pollution. Smog in China has made headlines at home and abroad over the past year. The latest round of smog blanketed Beijing from Feb 20 to 26, causing complaints of respiratory problems at hospitals and forcing class cancellations at schools.
Over the past year, smog has also plagued eastern and southern China, putting to rest the notion that air pollution is limited to northern China. Fu acknowledged that smog has become a headache for many cities.
Political advisers are calling on the top legislature to quickly amend the air pollution control law, which was adopted in 2000.
Sun Taili, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said the existing air pollution law mostly focuses on the control of coal consumption and sulfur dioxide emissions.
"We urgently need a law that is more up-to-date to fight this pressing problem," he said.
Sun suggested that an amendment to the 2000 law better regulate and coordinate the responsibilities of various government departments involved in controlling air pollution. He also asked that any amendment use more technological input in smog control.
Fu said China also faces serious water and soil pollution. She said the NPC deputies have paid a great deal of attention to environment protection and put forward many related motions and suggestions last year.
She also said the NPC Standing Committee has made environment-related laws a priority. A decision made at a key meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in November called for "the strictest rules" to protect the environment.
According to a five-year legislative agenda revealed in October by the NPC Standing Committee, the top legislature will review 11 draft laws and amendments related to the environment. In the legislative plan drafted five years ago, only seven dealt with environment protection.
Frugality on Agenda
The national legislative session will promote thrift this year as part of a national campaign against extravagance, Fu said on Tuesday.
Fu also said there will be no welcoming and farewell ceremonies for NPC deputies at their hotels. The deputies are not allowed to invite each other to expensive dinners or exchange gifts and souvenirs.
All deputies will dine at inexpensive, alcohol-free buffets and the session will refuse any sponsorship.
(Source: China Daily)