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Law on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution

legislation type Legislative
Passed in 1987
This law's purpose is "protecting and improving the environment, preventing and controlling atmospheric pollution, safeguarding public health, advancing ecological civilization and promoting the sustainable development of economy and society" (Art 1). It calls for comprehensive measures to be taken against the pollution "caused by the burning of coal, industrial production, motor vehicles and vessels, dust as well as agricultural activities" (Art 2.). The objective is to restrict various sources of atmospheric pollutants, including "air pollutants and greenhouse gases, including particles, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, and ammonia etc." (Art 2.) and make information on atmospheric cleanliness more readily available to the public.

The 2015 revisions provide that China should promote clean and efficient use of coal, obliging local governments to ban low-quality coal for residential use (Chapter IV, Section 1). Art 32 calls for "measures to improve energy structure and popularize the production and utilization of clean energy; optimize the utilization of coal to be cleaner and more effective; and reduce the proportion of coal in primary energy consumption and the discharge of atmospheric pollutants during the production, utilization and transformation of coal".

The law provides for the Government to advocate low-carbon and eco-friendly transport. "The ownership of vehicles using petroleum fuels shall be controlled below an appropriate level in accordance with urban planning. Public transport in urban areas shall be vigorously boosted to increase its proportion in overall transport. The State shall adopt measures including fiscal and tax policy and government procurement to popularize motor vehicles and vessels and non-road mobile machineries that save energy, protect the environment and use new energy; to limit motor vehicles and vessels and non-road mobile machineries that feature high level oil consumption and emission; and to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels" (Art 50). The law calls for establishment of a gasoline quality standard matched with the country's restriction requirements for major pollutants (Art 13), including sulfur, olefin, arenes and benzene.

The law calls the relevant state environmental department to "observe and simulate atmospheric conditions and use new technologies of artificial satellites, photogrammetric measurement and long-distance monitoring so as to analyze the sources and future trend of atmospheric pollution in these key areas. The department shall release such analyses to the public" (Art 91).

The law also provides greater environmental transparency to the public. It stipulates authorities of the State Council should evaluate provincial-level governments on their attainment of air quality improvement targets. The law also specifies other items to be disclosed publicly, including air quality standard, catalogue of major polluters, contact information of environmental authorities and supervisors, test results on the emissions of new vehicles, and sources and fluctuations of air pollution in important areas (Chapter III).

Violations or non-compliance with the law may result in fines between 5,000RMB (USD$760) and 1,000,000 RMB (USD$ 152,000), based on severity of offense, type of entity, operation and recurrence of offense (Chapter VII).
The law was originally adopted on September 5, 1987; amended according to the Decision on Revising the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Prevention and Control of Atmospheric Pollution on August 29, 1995; revised on April 29, 2000; and most recently revised again on August 29, 2015.


from the Grantham Research Institute
from the Grantham Research Institute
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