A Deep Dive into Environmental Governance
In adherence to the principles encapsulated in Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization, China has initiated the third round of its central environmental protection inspection—a comprehensive effort that seeks to redefine the contours of sustainability. This ambitious initiative, aligned with the visions of General Secretary Xi Jinping and the National Ecological Environmental Protection Conference, operates under the framework of the “Central Ecological Environmental Protection Inspection Work Regulations” and holds the backing of the Party Central Committee and the State Council.
Taking center stage are five provinces—Fujian, Henan, Hainan, Gansu, and Qinghai—each hosting a dedicated environmental protection inspection team led by experienced leaders including Chen Runer, Xu Dazhe, Song Xiuyan, Jiang Zhuoqing, and Liu Wei. These teams are charged with rigorously evaluating the implementation of Xi Jinping’s ecological civilization ideals and relevant decisions from the higher echelons of the Party Central Committee and the State Council.
Pioneering a people-centric approach with a focus on precision and adherence to scientific and legal compliance, the inspection zooms in on the execution of environmental protection responsibilities by provincial party committees and governments. The spotlight extends to scrutinizing the progress and implementation state environmental protection initiatives at the prefecture-level party committees and governments.
During the inspection period, the teams will dive deep into key areas such as the green transformation of development methods, promotion of high-quality development, and the deterrence of environmentally harmful projects. This comprehensive inspection also addresses environmental concerns linked with major regional strategies, ensuring swift action on ecological damage, pollution issues, and associated risks.
The inspection’s reach goes beyond provincial boundaries, scrutinizing the construction and operation of environmental infrastructure, reviewing progress from previous inspections, and actively seeking public reports on prominent environmental issues. A strong emphasis is placed on enforcing the “equal responsibilities of the party and government” and instituting “double responsibilities for one post” concerning environmental protection.
Understanding the critical significance of the “two establishments” and championing the “four consciousnesses” and “four self-confidences,” the inspection teams maintain a people-centric approach, aligning closely with the “Central Ecological Environmental Protection Inspection Work Regulations.” To facilitate public involvement, each inspection team establishes contact numbers and postal mailboxes for receiving letters, calls, and reports related to the inspected objects.
Corporate Handbook: Navigating Environmental Compliance for Businesses
Enhancing constitutional awareness akin to National Constitution Day, observed annually on December 4, enterprises must adhere to the “three simultaneity” management system for environmental protection in construction projects. This involves ensuring that pollution prevention and control facilities are designed, constructed, and put into production simultaneously with the main project. For existing pollutant discharging enterprises, obtaining a pollutant discharge license or completing pollutant discharge registration before the specified time is essential. New pollutant discharging enterprises should acquire a pollutant discharge license or complete registration before initiating production facilities or actual discharge of pollutants. Construction projects must fulfill relevant procedures, including the completion acceptance of environmental protection facilities before formal production commences.
Stipulating regulations for applying for a pollutant discharge permit, the emphasis is on compliance with types, control indicators, and prescribed methods specified in the license. Key points for implementation include installing monitoring equipment, maintaining monitoring facilities, and regularly reporting environmental information to the public. During the validity period of the pollutant discharge license, any changes related to the pollutant discharge unit, as per laws and regulations, must be promptly reported to the issuing ecological environment department. Extension requests for the validity period should be submitted 30 working days before expiration.
Enterprises are required to make timely and full payments of environmental protection tax, as stipulated in the “Regulations on the Implementation of the Environmental Protection Tax Law of the People’s Republic of China.” This responsibility does not exempt businesses from their duty to prevent and control pollution, compensate for pollution damage, and fulfill other obligations outlined in laws and administrative regulations.
In the realm of pollution prevention and control management, a comprehensive floor plan indicating the locations of production workshops, office buildings, boiler rooms, waste storage areas, and wastewater and waste gas treatment facilities must be displayed at the entrance of the enterprise’s office building. Workshop floors generating wastewater should implement anti-corrosion and anti-seepage measures. Waste gas-generating workshops should employ complete collection and treatment facilities, meeting ecological environment department requirements for sealing and achieving negative pressure effects where necessary.
For enterprises with pollution source online monitoring equipment, effective management and maintenance of the equipment are crucial, ensuring stable operation and data transmission. This involves standardized construction of monitoring stations, regulation development for operation and maintenance, and supervision of third-party operating units. Operators with professional training and certifications must assume full-time responsibility for managing the online monitoring system, with a strict prohibition on fraud, unauthorized modifications, and idling of the system.
Enterprises must establish a wastewater management system, delineating responsibilities and setting target indicators for wastewater discharge. To ensure compliance with standards, regular monitoring of wastewater discharge and a clean and organized wastewater treatment site are essential. Industrial solid waste and hazardous waste management systems must be established and adhered to, emphasizing reduction, resource utilization, and harmlessness.
An exhaust gas management system should be established, clarifying responsibilities and setting target indicators for exhaust gas emissions. Regular monitoring and compliance evaluations are crucial for stable and standard-compliant exhaust gas emissions. Clean and organized waste gas treatment sites, standardized discharge outlets, and informative signs contribute to effective exhaust gas pollution prevention.
For industrial solid waste management, enterprises should establish a system, clearly designating responsibilities and setting target indicators for the comprehensive utilization of industrial solid waste. Compliance with national standards and regulations is vital for waste collection, storage, disposal, and transfer across provinces.
A hazardous waste management system must be established, specifying responsibilities and setting target indicators for hazardous waste disposal. Regular identification of hazardous waste, proper storage measures, and adherence to national standards are essential. Hazardous waste transfer plans must be filed, and strict adherence to safety measures, including emergency response procedures, is mandatory.
In the domain of emergency environmental incident management, the focus is on the investigation and management of hidden dangers. After an environmental emergency occurs in an enterprise, an investigation team should be established in accordance with regulations, clarify its responsibilities and authorities, and conduct investigations or cooperate with investigations by superior departments. The investigation of environmental emergencies should identify the time, course, cause, degree, and scope of pollution, casualties, and direct economic losses, etc. The incident investigation team should analyze the direct and indirect causes and responsibilities of the incident based on relevant evidence and data, and propose corrective measures and handling suggestions.
For clean manufacturing, enterprises should complete the clean production review, evaluation, and acceptance work in accordance with the review procedures and time limits to achieve the goals of “energy saving, consumption reduction, pollution reduction, and efficiency improvement.” Encouraging enterprises to adopt cleaning processes with high utilization efficiency of raw and auxiliary materials and low pollutant emissions to reduce the generation of various pollutants. Enterprises should adhere to the principles of “reduction, harmlessness, and resource utilization”, actively carry out industrial wastewater treatment and reuse, energy cascade utilization, and comprehensive utilization of solid waste, and incorporate indicators of comprehensive utilization of waste (resources) into all aspects of the enterprise. Level assessment requirements should include an environmental conservation and carbon reduction management system, clarify the responsible departments and persons responsible for energy conservation and carbon reduction management, set target indicators for energy conservation and carbon reduction, and organize the preparation of energy conservation and carbon reduction management plans.
In the context of environmental information disclosure, enterprises should establish a complete and effective environmental information disclosure system, organize the disclosure of environmental information on the official website of the enterprise or through environmental information disclosure platforms, and establish corresponding channels for public inquiries. Public disclosure methods include setting up environmental information publicity columns in public places within the enterprise, disclosing environmental information in the environmental information disclosure column of the enterprise’s official website, and accepting inquiries and reports from the public on environmental information. A telephone or special environmental information disclosure mailbox should be established to facilitate public inquiries and reports. Public relations strategies should include proactively accepting supervision by the public, news media, and public opinion, timely accepting and responding to environmental information disclosure suggestions and reports from the public, and actively responding to social concerns.
Incorporating various environmental protection requirements, enterprises are urged to eliminate backward production capacity, formulate and organize the implementation of corresponding special plans, and improve resource utilization. Urgent improvements and upgrades should be made to key projects that are still in operation and do not meet the requirements. Regarding pollution weather emergency response, the focus is on preparing emergency plans and organizing drills in accordance with relevant laws and regulations, identifying and implementing necessary technical measures, ensuring the normal operation of pollutant discharge facilities, and reducing pollutant emissions. In the event of an enterprise project termination or relocation, the enterprise should report relevant information in accordance with laws and regulations, and the local ecological environment department should supervise and inspect the enterprise’s handling of environmental protection facilities, personnel placement, and waste and pollutant disposal.
As environmental policies become more stringent, companies are recognizing the global importance of ecological and environmental governance. This article encourages compliance with industry standards and guidelines to contribute to the nation’s efforts in building a sustainable and eco-friendly future. As a testament to this commitment, the Shanghai International Environmental Protection Exhibition provides a platform for collaboration and showcases the latest advancements in environmental technologies and solutions. Companies are urged to actively engage with these initiatives to foster a greener and more sustainable world.