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China: Draft Law on Ozone Protection

Draft Law on Ozone Protection

Legislation phasing out ozone depleting substances (ODS) is expected to be passed within the next two years, disclosed the Sate Environmental Protection Administration on Saturday in Shenzhen.

The State Administration of Environmental Protection (SEPA) disclosed the latest progress of the legislation, still in its draft stage, at two major forums during a conference marking the 10th anniversary of International Ozone Layer Protection Day in Shenzhen on Saturday.

So far there are around 100 documents issued by different government departments in China dealing with phasing out ODS, but there is no national law, which includes all the relevant terms and specifies punishment. The lack of a legal support has resulted in risk-taking producers and traders taking advantage of the many loopholes that exist.

"The legislation is based on one principle: to adjust the macro industry policy to ensure the cost of illegal use of ODS is much higher than for those who abide by the law," said Professor Wang Canfa from China University of Political Science and Law, who is part of the drafting team.

"We should be more far-sighted. In addition to eliminating ODS, we also have to include laws on the technology, investment, trading and market access of any future ODS substitutes," Li Xinmin, vice director of SEPA's pollution control department, said.

The illegal international trade of products containing ODS, particularly among developing nations, is a difficult problem to deal with. Atul Bagai, the South Asia coordinator of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) suggested an ODS license system be adopted. "The regional information sharing is important. ODS export and import countries can sign an agreement to ensure only those meeting certain requirements get the license to trade in ODS," Bagai said.

Volkmar Hasse, another expert from the German Technology Center also suggested that certified training be included in China's legislation to guarantee that people in charge of eliminating ODS are technically qualified to do so.

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