BEIJING, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) - China's lawmakers on Thursday deliberated an amendment to the Water Pollution Prevention Law, calling for heavier punishment for offenders.
The draft amendment was submitted by the State Council to the National People's Congress Standing Committee for its first reading at the top legislature's bimonthly session.
During the group deliberation on Thursday afternoon, Chen Zhu, vice chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, said as it will take as much as a century to treat the pollution of underground water and lakes, the cost of breaking the law should be higher than polluting air.
Although the draft amendment strengthens the punishment, Chen thought it was not big enough.
Xie Xuren, another member of the NPC Standing Committee, suggested that a management system for the treatment of domestic sewage and garbage be built in rural areas.
The current Water Pollution Prevention Law was enacted in 1984 and amended twice in 1996 and 2008.
Local governments should set time limits and make efforts to improve water quality, and will be authorized to issue tougher pollutant control requirements for water quality standards, according to the draft amendment.
Environmental monitoring systems will be improved, with self-monitoring obligations of polluting enterprises specified in the draft.