China Places a New, Higher Tax on Pollution
Recently, dangerous levels of air pollution spread over several major cities in China. The problem shows that China has much to do to fight pollution. But China is also changing the way it deals with the problem.
In the past, local governments, including officials in the capital Beijing, would have denied the problem. But, during the recent period of smog, schools and some polluting factories were closed. Also, the number of cars permitted on city streets was limited.
Environmental groups say the number of clear days is increasing. More people are paying attention to the deadly effects of microscopic air pollutants called PM 2.5. These small particles can harm human lungs.
During the five-day pollution crisis, state-run Xinhua news agency reports that 15 million face masks were sold online.
Recently, China's National People's Congress passed a new environmental tax. The tax affects polluters of air, water and solids. Noise pollution is also among the things that can be taxed. The new law aims to pressure polluters and give the government more enforcement power.
Weak local enforcement
The law aims to deal with the failure of local governments to watch, enforce, and punish polluters. For nearly 40 years, China has been collecting fees from polluters. However, the system did not work well.
Under the old pollution fee law, local governments placed more importance on economic growth than the environment.
Yuan Ying works for the Climate and Energy Unit of Greenpeace East Asia in Beijing. She said a pollution tax is a good step.
She said the new policy will help cause local governments to make tougher rules for companies that pollute.
In the past, local officials from China's Ministry of Environmental Protection were responsible for collecting pollution fees and the system was easy to abuse. Earlier this month, state media reported that investigations this year have led to the punishment of more than 3,700 officials for not effectively protecting the environment.
Now, local tax officials will send the money directly to the local governments, instead of local environmental protection departments. Environmental officials will be responsible for monitoring polluters.
War on Pollution
For years, China has been criticized for not limiting pollution because of the effect it could have on economic growth. Critics of China include Peter Navarro, the man President-elect Donald Trump has appointed as the head of what he is calling the National Trade Council.
These critics argue that weak enforcement is unfair because China uses it to cut costs for its companies. These savings can make their products more competitive.
But, in recent years, public awareness and opposition has grown. Pressure to clean up the environment has increased. Chinese leaders see the problem affecting not only the country's water, soil and air, but social stability too.
Too little, too slow
The effect of the tax is not yet known. The new law does not take effect until January 2018.
Information released by state media shows that few companies will feel pressure to pollute less. For example, the tax on one ton of dangerous waste is about $144.
Coal mines and users are expected to pay less than one dollar for one ton of waste. And the cost for releasing one kilogram of the chemical sulfur dioxide is about 17 cents.
But officials say the increase in money received from the tax will be large. Last year, under the old system, officials collected $2.5 billion from about 280,000 polluters. The new tax law is expected to collect as much as $50 billion during its first year.
Greenpeace's Yuan Ying said that based on their estimates the current rate is still too low, especially for coal-burning power plants. She said the current cost to polluters is not enough to limit or pay for the environmental costs.
I'm Alice Bryant.
1.power plant 发电厂
In an electric power plant the heat converts water into high-pressure steam.
2.deals with 处理
The declaration deals with disarmament and the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
3.air pollutant 空气污染物
Sulfur dioxide has a more venerable history as an air pollutant than any other chemical.
4.face mask 口罩
Wear safety goggles and use a face mask if you are creating dust.
1.More people are paying attention to the deadly effects of microscopic air pollutants called PM 2.5.
paying attention to 注重；关注
More and more countries is paying attention to this game.
If he's not paying attention to us, he's a cop.
2.The new law does not take effect until January 2018.
take effect 生效
International sanctions were beginning to take effect.
The traffic laws don't take effect until the end of the year.
近日，重度空气污染侵袭了中国几大城市 。此现象表明，中国的污染治理之路依旧漫长 。然而，中国也逐渐改变着治理污染的方式 。
在此之前，地方政府甚至北京的政府官员都否认了污染问题 。但是近期的雾霾天气导致学校停课，工厂停工 。此外，允许上路的汽车数量也受到了限制 。
环保组织表示，晴朗天气日渐增多 。越来越多的民众开始关注微小空气污染物（PM2.5）的致命影响，这种微小颗粒物会损害人体肺部 。
最近，中国人大常委会通过了一项新的环保税法 。该税种将对大气污染、水污染及固体污染物产生影响 。征税对象还包括噪音污染 。此税法旨在对排污企业施加压力，并赋予政府更大的执法权 。
该税法旨在应对地方政府监测、执行和惩治排污企业不到位等问题 。近40年来，中国一直向排污企业征收费用 。然而，该制度的效果差强人意 。
袁颖在北京绿色和平东亚分部气候变化与能源部门任职 。她表示，污染税是非常关键的一步 。
过去，中国环保部的地方官员负责征收排污费，该权利易被滥用 。本月初，央视报道称，今年的调查导致3700多名保护环境不力的官员受到处罚 。
如今，地方税务官员将把征收的税金直接移交地方政府而非地方环保部门 。环保官员将负责监测排污企业动态 。
多年来，中国一直因限制排污问题倍受指责，因为这会影响经济增长 。质疑之声中包括候任总统川普刚任命的国家贸易委员会负责人的彼得·纳瓦罗（Peter Navarro） 。
然而近年来，公众对环境污染的意识和反对明显加强 。净化环境的压力同步增长 。中国领导人认为这一问题不仅影响了水源、土壤、大气，还有社会稳定 。
新税法的效果不得而知 。该法案将从2018年1月开始实施 。
央视发布的信息表明，只有少数企业才会感到污染压力减缓 。例如，每吨危险废弃物征收144美元左右 。
据官员称，通过污染税征收到的税金将大幅增长 。去年，有关官员从约28万家排污企业中征收到的税金约合25亿美元 。预计新税法第一年将征得500亿美元 。
绿色和平的袁颖表示，据估算，目前的征收费率还是太低，尤其是对煤电厂 。她说，排污企业要交的污染费用不足以限制其排放或支付环境成本 。