China has ordered a second national census on the sources of pollution as the world’s top carbon emitter seeks to bring down the high pollution level affecting several of its main cities. Beginning from December next year, the census will target industrial, agricultural and residential establishments and review the efficiency of centralised pollution control and treatment facilities, said a circular signed by Premier Li Keqiang.
The State Council established a working group under the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) to oversee the census.
The first census began in 2006.
This second census is expected to be finished by the end of 2018 and the results released in 2019, according to an MEP statement.
Environmental authorities must have an accurate understanding of where, when and how the environment in China is being polluted, so corresponding policies and measures can be designed to suit each situation, the statement said.
To ensure the accuracy of the census, in addition to employing traditional methods, remote sensing satellites and drones will be used to collect data, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Anyone refusing to report on or falsifying the pollution figures will be held legally responsible, the circular stated.
In August, the central government submitted a draft environment tax law to the top legislature for its first reading, which proposed a nationwide levy on air, water, noise and solid pollutants from business activities.