Guidelines let minor environmental rule breakers off the hook

Ke Jiayun
In certain cases, local companies which commit minor infractions can avoid fines and shutdowns if they correct their misbehavior, justice officials say.
Ke Jiayun

Enterprises which commit minor infractions of environmental regulations now have the chance to avoid administrative punishment if they stop their violations and correct the errors, the local justice bureau said on Thursday.

According to the bureau, it has issued three guidelines with relevant government departments on punishment let-offs for minor violation to improve the city's commerce. Such pardons can also facilitate the resuming of business and production as the novel coronavirus wanes in China.

The latest such guideline was released last month, following one from March last year and another in February.

Although minor rule-breaking companies will not be punished administratively with fines or shutdowns, they will still be educated and guided by authorities on how to adhere to regulations.

Under the guidelines, firms which fail to file environmental impact reports on their construction projects will not be subject to administrative penalties if they cease construction and restore the environment.

Those who fail to register their construction projects' impact for the first time, but who complete registration in a timely manner, will not be punished as well.

First-time offenders who mix small amounts of hazardous waste with the other waste will also avoid penalty if they correct the offense right away.

Those who exceed noise limits by less than 1 decibel will not be punished for first offenses either, provided they lower their noise.

By the end of last month, more than 900 companies avoided administrative penalty, including small and micro-sized businesses and startups.

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