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China's first draft rules on chemicals hailed

2019-01-30author:source:chinadaily

China's first draft regulation on the assessment and evaluation of chemicals' risks on the environment won widespread support among scholars and environmentalists at a panel discussion Tuesday, despite much room remaining for improvement.

Participants used lavish words to underscore the importance of the rules released by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment on Jan 8 for public discussion, as the country has emerged as a major producer and consumer of chemical products globally.

Liu Jianguo, a professor at Peking University's school of environmental science and engineering, spoke at the event organized by the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation. He described the rules as "badly in need", because sales of chemicals soared over the last few decades but regulation lagged behind.

"Chinese sales of chemicals now account for about 30 percent of the world's total, and is expected to reach 44 percent by 2030," he said. "But China's management of the chemicals is still exactly what it was 20 or 30 years ago."

Chen Huiming, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Inspection and Quarantine and a veteran chemical expert, said at the event that though imperfect in terms of details, the rules themselves are revolutionary and a great opportunity for chemical controls.

"I cannot wait for it to take effect," he said. "Minor details could be revised later."

The researcher noted the rules, if passed, could help attract a huge number of resources from the State, which is crucial for the country's supervision in the sector.

Wen Xiangcai, deputy director of the China National Environmental Monitoring Center's physics division, described the rules as "extremely necessary" and said they signal that China is gradually turning from addressing the surface problems, such as pollution, to tracing their root cause.

"The rules come at the right time, as China endeavors to improve its governance capabilities and that of its ecological system," she said.

E-mail:li.yutong@mepfeco.org.cn

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