Mao Rubai -- chairman of the Environment and Resources Committee of the National People's Congress -- said "The country will gradually levy environment tax when conditions are ripe." Rubai indicated that the Chinese government only takes into account production cost and sometimes the scarcity of resources when setting prices. As a result, the government often neglects environmental costs.
Rubai added that those who pollute will pay the tax once it is implemented. The gains China has made in thee decades of rapid economic growth could be wiped out by an environmental crisis, experts have warned. For example, China's sulphur dioxide emission in 2005 amounted to more than 25.5 million tons -- 27 percent more than in 2000.
In addition to the quantity of certain environmental elements increasing in a bad way, air quality in nearly half of China's cities was moderately or seriously polluted when recent measurements were taken, and one-tenth of the country's arable land is polluted.
300 delegates from governments, legislatures, enterprises, non-governmental organizations and academic circles drew up a preliminary draft law on establishing an economy based on recycling as of last month. The draft law was designed to offer a legal framework for sustainable development.
Additionally, the draft law includes provisions on resource exploitation and conservation, waste recovering, recycling and sustainable consumption. In terms of participation, more than 10 provinces and municipalities in China have already adhered to local regulations promoting recycling.
In addition to China's mounting environmental concerns and pollution amounts, a quarter of its population drinks substandard water, and a third of urbanites breathe badly polluted air. China has a major water pollution incident every two days on average, according to reports.
There have been urges for the government to introduce legal mechanisms to make polluters pay and reward those who protect the environment, and this new law has been drafted with that goal in mind.