It’s beginning to feel like bizzaro world here as today brings another positive environmental report from China, following yesterday’s report of a drop in pollution levels in the country.
China has pulled important bank loans from 12 heavy polluters as part of a new “green credit” policy. The report did not name the companies, who were among 30 violators reported by the State Environmental Protection Administration(SEPA) to the state bank and national banking regulatory commission. One circulated story, however, mentions a brewery that had a 10 million yuan loan rejected due to repeated wastewater discharge violations.
The bank has taken back the loans, suspended them, or rejected the companies’ loan applications because of their environmental actions. The China Youth Daily quoted a SEPA official as saying: “The purpose of this move is to force enterprises to pay the price for environmental violations.” Pulling a loan can have a far greater impact on a company than the most common other punishment, a maximum 100,000 yuan fine. The SEPA official commented on the fines, saying: “Compared with the economic benefits of illegally discharging pollutants, this kind of financial punishment is just a drop in the bucket for these enterprises.”
The green credit program is one of several new environmental policies based on financial ramifications for polluting companies. On Friday, the government announced that mining companies would be forced to pay deposits which would be used to guarantee the environmental clean-up of the mine. The deposits are one step in the government’s attempts to put small mines out of business and consolidate the mines, which will be more efficient and easier to operate and clean up after.
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