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China pilots trans-provincial eco-compensation scheme


10:44, May 01, 2013

HEFEI, April 30 (Xinhua)-- East China's Anhui Province recently received 4 million yuan (648,824 U.S.dollars) in compensation for river pollution that was sourced to neighboring Henan Province.

Henan paid the compensation three months after polluted water spread downstream from the Huiji River in Henan to the city of Bozhou in Anhui, downgrading the water quality to the worst level and killing tens of thousands of fish.

"Trans-provincial water pollution is a complicated issue. More efforts need to be made to deal with the pollution and address the complaints of those affected. Compensation is far from enough," said Su Mingsheng, deputy head of Bozhou's environmental protection bureau.

The precise source of the pollution has not been identified, raising concerns that similar incidents could occur again.

The basins of the country's largest rivers traverse multiple administrative regions, making it difficult to pinpoint sources of pollution.

Eight provinces have established trans-provincial environmental compensation rules thus far. However, local protectionism and uncertainties regarding environmental and economic benefits have prevented the creation of a state-level trans-provincial compensation mechanism.

Water pollution cases are frequently reported across the country, especially in the industrial eastern and coastal regions.

Recent incidents, including the discovery of thousands of pig corpses floating from the city of Jiaxing in east China's Zhejiang Province to the city of Shanghai, as well as a leakage of aniline in Shanxi Province that affected drinking water in neighboring Hebei Province, have prompted concerns about China's water pollution.

"Rules for tackling pollution issues within a given jurisdiction have been a roadblock when trans-regional pollution occurs," said Xu Xuhai, deputy chief of Anhui's provincial environmental supervisory bureau.

Xu said regions that share the same river may reach agreements on trans-regional pollution. However, the Law on Prevention and Control of Water Pollution has no specific binding provisions in this regard.

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