Environment litigation should not be monopolized

Updated: 2013-06-27 21:30


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A draft amendment to the environmental protection law prohibits NGOs and individuals from filing public interest litigation against pollution. That will make the law powerless in protecting environment, says a commentary from Beijng News.


"The State is responsible for environmental protection."

According to Xinhua News Agency, the official draft amendment to the environmental protection law is going to include this sentence in its preamble "to better protect the environment".

Ironically, the same draft also says that only the All-China Environment Federation, which is run by the State, could file litigation against pollution that hurts public interests, thus depriving NGOs and all other individuals of the right to file public interest litigation.

The draft, if passed, would curb instead of promoting China's environmental protection. By setting a monopoly for filing litigation, the law would only make it more difficult for ordinary people, who suffer most from pollution, to defend themselves through legal means.

The passing years have already seen several examples where pollution cannot be stopped because the ordinary people have no right to sue the responsible persons or companies. It is time to protect, not deprive, their right to protect the environment in which they live.

There are already many voices on both online and traditional media outlets speaking out against this draft. We hope the legislative body will take the people's opinions into consideration while making the decision. After all, environmental protection is concerned with the lives and interests of ordinary people.