China Implements Its First Soil Pollution Prevention Law



China’s first national legislation on soil pollution, the Soil Pollution Prevention Law of People’s Republic of China, came into effect on January 1, 2019. It was adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on August 31 last year. Filling the legal void in this regard, the new law defines and highlights responsibilities for pollution prevention and control and particularly focuses on lands used for construction projects and agriculture.

The new law has strengthened the responsibilities of governments in regulating soil pollution. In the appraisal of local governments and departments for soil pollution prevention above county level and their individual leaders, one criterion will be their performance in achieving goals of soil pollution prevention.

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The law requires that land use rights holders and relevant businesses should take effective measures to prevent and reduce soil pollution and assume responsibility for soil pollution they cause. Soil polluters are primarily responsible for controlling soil pollution risks and restoring the polluted soil. However, if those who have polluted the soil cannot be identified, land use rights holders will be held accountable, and local governments will allocate responsibility when any dispute arises.

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