27 December 2016 Current Affairs: China on December 25, 2016, passed a new law to levy environment tax on polluters, especially on heavy industries.
The environment tax law was adopted by the legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC) standing committee at a meeting in Beijing. The law will be implemented on January 1, 2018.
The tax rate will be 1.2 yuan ($0.17) per unit of atmospheric pollution, 1.4 yuan per unit of water pollution, 5 yuan per tonne of coal waste and 1,000 yuan per tonne of “hazardous waste”.
Industrial noise polluters will be levied 350 yuan per month if they exceed limits by 1-3 decibels, 700 yuan for 4-6 decibels and 11,200 yuan per month for 16 decibels and more.
Under the new law, provincial-level governments can raise the rates for air and water pollution by up to ten times after approval by the people’s congresses. Lower rates may also be applicable if emission is less than national standards.
The law only targets enterprises and public institutions that discharge listed pollutants directly into the environment. However, carbon dioxide, one of the major contributors to global warming, is not included in the levying list.
Punishment for any fraud has not been specified, but offenders will be held liable under the
law on administration of taxation and the environmental law.
The new law will reduce interference from government. Besides, it will also improve tax payers’ environmental awareness, forcing companies to upgrade technology and shift to cleaner production.